Advice to Newbies
All right, all you newbies whose emails I haven't gotten around to answering. I figured I'd save some time and answer some of those questions since most of those were the same questions. Of course, this section, then, is a bit overlapping with Wicca FAQ but there are some key differences as you may note.
First of all, to answer the question of "Where do I begin?" I ask "Begin what?" As is important with all major endeavors, it is vital to know what it is you are getting into. Wicca is a religion, not a fad. It is centered around respect and reverence of our Mother Earth, not around spells for love, money, and glamour. It is simple yet it is not so simple. It is simple in that there are few rules and guidelines that one must follow, but it is not simple as a result of the same fact. There being so few rules and guidelines carved in stone as there are in "mainstream" and "conventional" religions, much is left up to interpretation. However, there is something in wicca that is virtually carved in stone. That would be the laws of the Wiccan Rede.
If you are intent on beginning, I strongly recommend reading the various articles available at The Witches' Voice and visiting the message boards at The Celtic Connection. There is an article in at The Witches' Voice that I especially recommend. It's called So Ya Wanna be a Witch. Read through that whole thing plus the basic texts and information I have here. I'm going to have a "Recommended Reading" list up soon, and that will serve as a guide, but in general, read everything you can get your hands on. (As we say at the Celtic Connection, "READ, READ, READ.")
If you feel you wish to be truly dedicated to wicca, you may wish to consider embarking on a study of a year and a day. During that study period, read and study all that you possibly can. If you feel you are ready to practice, make sure you feel you are ready to do so. By the way, practicing does not mean find some spells to perform. Here I like to make a martial arts analogy. One does not practice martial arts by picking fights. One practices the individual techniques, whether it means visualization and meditation or stretching and flicking that fan until it opens by itself. Even when you get to be skilled, avoid actually fighting until absolutely necessary. Some of this is common sense. Be nice to people. It will come back to you. As Sunzi said, "Do not fight unless you are in danger." The same goes for magick. Do not use spells until you have exhausted the mundane solutions first.
If you are certain you want to embark on a study of a year and a day (and I hope you are absolutely certain), you may wish to perform a dedication ritual. That, by the way, is absolutely optional. You can always do your "year-and-a-day" study without a ritual and you can always study without dedicating a year and a day. As you will see as time goes on, it's up to you.