Tarot is a deck of 78 cards with pictures involving esoteric and ancient symbols. The symbols are language of the subconscious mind .Just as when we write the thoughts are ours but the pen is just an instrument, similarly in Tarot- the cards are the instrument that we use to tune in and interpret the energies gone past, energies prevailing in present and the energies developing for the future.
The cards are distributed into 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana cards. Arcanum means a "secret". It is said that the soul takes a physical body to experience. The First card in Major Arcana is the fool, the card is numbered as 0. The 21 cards that follow are called the Fools journey. The remaining cards are called the fools journey as they define the 21 lessons/ experiences that each soul needs to learn and understand on its journey through various life times. In a reading major arcana cards will be important messages that need to understood by the querent in that current situation or in the current life time.
The minor cards has 4 suits (wands, swords, cups and pentacles )and each suit has 14 cards ( 14*4=56). The number 4 is the number of physical manifestation. Hence the four suits represent the four life making elements. Our lives are a play of the interaction of elements whether it be physical elements of fire, air, water and earth or the experiential elements of action, intellect, emotions and body . Thus minor suits read the day to day life situations for us.