Your skills for solving problems and staying on schedule are well above average, yet as 2012 starts you may be bogged down with complicated issues that require more time to resolve than you expect. Active Mars is moving extremely slowly when the year begins as he floats toward his retrograde station in your sign on Jan. 23. The planet of pushing ahead will then move backward into your 1st House of Personality until April 13; it's time for you to tie up loose ends before you take on new challenges. You may be more withdrawn than usual and, perhaps, irritated by delays and fatigued by the extra effort it seems to take to get anything done. Use this period to step back, re-examine where old habits are no longer useful, and adopt new ways of managing your health and lifestyle.
Handling money is another key issue this year, with responsible Saturn in your 2nd House of Self-Esteem until Oct. 5. This transit also reminds you to treat yourself kindly and to maintain an emotional balance that acknowledges your strengths as much as your weaknesses. You gain the confidence and status you need to succeed when you're respected and your opinions are listened to. The importance of social graces cannot be overstated. All the hard work and expertise in the world may not compensate for an inability to express yourself well. If you're uncomfortable making small talk with strangers or speaking to large groups, investing in a class to improve your communication skills is an excellent idea. Venus, the charming ruler of your 2nd house, retrogrades in your 10th House of Career from May 15 until June 27. On the positive side, this can reconnect you with someone from your past who can benefit you professionally, or revive a talent that's been dormant. However, complex interactions with others can make your job more difficult. Repairing relationships starts when you demonstrate flexibility and a friendly attitude that's open to new and different points of view.
Generous Jupiter in Taurus brings gifts of learning that have practical applications as it moves through your 9th House of Higher Education until June 11. One of its fundamental lessons is that simplicity will help you fly higher than burdening your mind with too many details. Grasping basic principles is your ladder to the stars, rewarding you with a richer sense of meaning and purpose. Then, on June 11, Jupiter skips into adaptable Gemini and your 10th house for a year-long stay to multiply options in your professional life. Don't leap at the first opportunity that comes your way -- Jupiter's dodgy square with nebulous Neptune on June 25 might seduce you with promises that sound too good to be true, and that's because they probably are. Your natural critical judgment may be skewed, so double-check work-related assumptions before you let hope carry you so high that you leave reason and common sense behind.