As Halloween breaks merchandise sales records year after year with mountains of zombie, ghoul and politician-of-the-year masks, we're craving a greater emphasis on winter's other, more affectionate bookend: Valentine's Day. February 14th surfaces like a moist, balmy breeze, granting us a reprieve from the doldrums that commence after New Year's and can last until April.

With Christian/Roman roots that are vague and difficult to pin down, the modern tradition of acknowledging those you love has sustained a steady greeting card, boxed chocolate, flower, and tacky red lingerie business. But this year you can do more --exult in the healing power of love, shout from the hilltops, and give presents that are unusual, open-hearted, and spiritually sumptuous!

Sounds ambitious, but here are some ideas to help you along.

Romantic Fine Art Prints has issued a large collection of affordable posters, calendars and notecards depicting scenes from Hindu stories and scripture so beautiful they should please lovers of any faith. This poster of Radna and Krishna, the divine couple of Hinduism, is 19 by 27 inches. $12.00.

Two boxed sets of blank romantic art cards, "Love Divine Art Cards," and "Yoga of Love Art Cards," cost $12.95 each.

Red "Personal Power" Scarf
The horses are running wild on this large and fabulous red chiffon scarf available through's website. A great gift to affirm the power and possibility of Mom or any other exciting woman in your life, it's available in silk chiffon for $68.00. The price goes up to $105.00 if you opt for the black satin silk trim.

First Corinthians Coffee Mug
A loving message adapted from 1 Corinthians decorates this ceramic coffee mug. $5.99

Protective Miz Pah Pendant
This two-part lover's necklace of Jewish origin is a wonderfully sentimental gift. You keep half, and give the other: The quote engraved into it is from Genesis and it reads "The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent from one another." Available in several finishes, sizes and price levels from $92 for sterling to $265 for a large medal in 14-karat gold.

Girl's Seed of Faith Pin
Just as a tiny mustard seed grows into a strong plant, a little faith can give you strength. This delicate heart-shaped pin provides a wonderful way to reinforce the famous Bible lesson and seal it forever in the mind of a young -- or older girl. This could be the best nine dollars you ever spend on her, and it's wonderfully appropriate for Valentine's Day.

Sensual Oils and Essences
Mary Muryn worked with essential oils for years as a healer, mind-body therapist and student of the world's finest spa treatments. In time, she discovered her own entrepreneurial streak and developed a line of aromatic bath and body products. For Valentine's Day, we recommend the "Rose Open Your Heart Oil" for $34.00, which contains the essence of Rose Absolute and Tea Rose Fragrance, both apparently good scents for opening the heart to love and well-being. A little "Mystical Sex Oil" or "Sexual Rejuvenation Oil" also couldn't hurt, and they are available at the same price.

Open Your Heart Chakra
Tibetan Black Hat Feng Shui expert and Chakra/Color therapist Nancy SantoPietro published a four-CD set of chakra cleansing meditations that will open your heart to love and blow your hat and socks off.
Of particular interest at this season are the heart chakra exercises to help you love yourself and others with a fullness you may never have experienced. $39.99 plus shipping.