The basic answer begins with the physical deck itself.
A tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, 52 of them analogous to the 52-card deck you are familiar with for poker, Gin Rummy, and Go-Fish.
Their familiarity is part of what makes them the every-day level of “sharing.” Minor Archana, they’re called. The little secrets.
Another 4 cards belong to the minors as well. A fourth face card for each suit. Instead of the Jack/Queen/King arrangement of the traditional deck, Tarot decks include Page/Knight/Queen/King.
78-52 -4= 22
The last 22 are the archetypal or storytelling cards, and these are the cards least-familiar to the average card-player: The Major Arcana. The skookum secrets.
These include the kinds of cards that can look scary – Death, or the Devil, for example. And what about all that nudity? Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
Or avoid it. You know what I mean.
Tarot is the overarching term I use to describe both the physical decks I use, the act of laying out cards, and the practice of discussing what the images on those cards represent.
So when I say, “I do tarot,” I am saying that I have a comfort with and an understanding of ways to use these 78-card decks, some of which I’ll share on this blog over time.