Tarot is well known of and the average person can at least figure out the meaning of the word, but for the most part, these cards are horrendously misunderstood. The practice of tarot is not necessarily to cause anything to happen as it seems in the movies, but it is used mainly to predict the future. Movies show gypsies and sorcerers dressed up in silks and sequins operating a tarot deck and telling of doom, but eternal doom is far from the case of what will occur with most people. In fact, it wasn't until the 18th century when the cards were documented first as being used for divinatory purposes. Before that, they were treated as a simple card game. Predictions with tarot cards today are usually mundane, but still offer great insight into the future. If you are still interested in learning how to use a deck of tarot cards, then continue on.
There are many different decks of tarot cards, but the most popular is the European version which is also the same as the U.S. version. These decks contain cards that are known as the major and minor arcana. A standard deck of cards consists of 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana totaling up to 78 cards in all. The special things about the cards are their symbolism. You will notice when looking at a deck of tarot cards that the depiction on each card, or the drawing should be a very intricate one. Besides simply being a picture of what is named on the card, such as a picture of a jester for the fool card, or a picture of a demon for the devil card, the drawings themselves have an immense significance. In order to truly understand what the prediction is for you, you must use a mixture of the major and minor arcana. The major arcana are so named because they apply to very important events, while the minor arcana hold significance for only daily happenings and nothing of truly important interest.
In order to read tarot cards for yourself or another, you should first buy a deck and wrap it in cloth. When you are ready to read, spread out the cloth on a table. Shuffle the deck and cut it. If you are reading for someone else, then allow them to cut the deck. Then you need to ask a question or have the person you are reading for ask a question. Ask it out loud so that your echo fills the room. Then, one by one, either pick yourself, or allow your subject to pick four cards and set them down in a spread, the most common one being in a diamond shape. Take these cards and interpret their meaning based on what you know about each of the arcana. In a four card spread, the top card represents relationships and romance. The bottom card represents health and mental happiness. The card on the right represents money, financial power, and the card on the left represents career path. If you place the cards on the table in reverse, then the meaning of the card is the opposite that it would normally be. There is more information included here with meanings and interpretations for each of the cards in a tarot deck including both the major and minor arcana if you are unfamiliar with any of them.