The Tarot deck is divided into the major arcana
and the four suits of minor arcana
, namely cups, swords, pentacles, and wands. There are 78 cards in all - 22 major arcana, and 14 each of Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands. There are several standard-ish layouts for reading Tarot cards - my favorite is the Celtic Cross
The key when reading Tarot cards is to focus on one and only one question while shuffling the deck, and to shuffle the deck until it feels exactly right. Allegedly, the spirits will fix it so that your shuffling puts the cards in exactly the right order.