How does the Tarot actually work?
I wish I could explain how the right cards end up in the right place - can't. But, what I do think happens is that the cards allow you to connect with your intuition (psychic skills/higher guidance) and I also think everyone can read the cards.
For me Tarot is a blend of intuition; when I look at the cards in a slight meditative state and just "know" something.... And wisdom; when a symbol/picture in the card links to a traditional meaning.
When these two back each other up, saying similar things - then it can be really powerful.
So my best advice if you are just starting out is to read a layout in three separate stages; 1 - just look at the cards, let your eyes and mind dream and see what comes to mind. Write this down. 2 - look the cards up in a book, see if their traditional meanings enhance what your own intuition was saying. 3 - go and do something else. (ideally including a full night's sleep). Now look at your cards & notes again and try to find the connected meaning between your intuition and the wisdom of those who have studied before you.
When you are just starting out I find three-card readings are often a good balance; ideally you need more than one card to allow your mind to make connections between the cards.