When I am asked this question, I am often stumped what to reply, as there are so many ways I could answer.
The simple answer is: just get on and be a Witch.
But that doesn't really help with the practical 'how's and 'why's and 'wherefore's.
So since the nights are drawing in and we are heading towards the most Magical time of the year, I decided it was time to look at giving out some practical information instead.
First: If you haven't already done so, please send for a Raven catalogue (you will find links to a version you can read online on this blog page, and on our facebook page). I know that is a bit of shameless self-promotion, but just having the catalogue to read through will answer a lot of your questions. For example there are the Basic and an Advanced Wicca Course, Fact Sheets and the Folk Witchery Book of Self-Initiation and Solitary Witchcraft.
All of these will help you on your quest, but the really basic thing to consider is:
Do I feel like a Witch and that I want to make a commitment to being a Witch?
Anyone can cast a spell, you do not have to be a Witch to do that. So if all you really want to do is learn how to cast a few spells for various purposes, just find yourself a spell book, there are plenty on the market.
The way most books recommend that you become a Witch is by joining a Coven and being initiated by them. Of course that does have its own difficulties, firstly finding a Coven is difficult enough, then finding one that is willing to initiate you, and that you feel comfortable with is another matter.
Becoming a Witch does not have to be a convoluted process with an elaborate ritual, but it should involve you making some sort of commitment to a new way of being.
There are actually a lot of traditional methods for becoming a Witch. Many of them come from times when everyone in Britain was christian, or at least had to appear to be so, and when every child would have been baptised, thus making them a part of the christian church. So in order to become a Witch, very often the process involved ways of breaking your links to your former religion.
One old ritual says that you should walk three time widdershins around a church at midnight and then leave your prayerbook in the porch. Leaving your prayerbook obviously means that you will no longer be able to participate in the christian rituals, and widdershins movement is a way of undoing something, in this case you are undoing your attachment to the christian church, leaving you free to make a new bond to Witchcraft.
Another old ritual is to kneel naked at midnight with a single candle and recite the Lord's Prayer backwards. Again the backwards recitation of the prayer is a way of undoing your commitment to your former ways and leaves you outside the bounds of conventional society.
There are other traditional spells which emphasise more the commitment to your new life, rather than breaking the bonds with the old, for example:
Go to a crossroads at midnight and mark a circle there big enough for you to move comfortably within it. Then kneel down and put one hand on the sole of your foot and the other on top of your head and say:
I give all that is between my hands to the service of the Old Ones.
You should then stand up and wait until you hear a noise such as the rustling of leaves or the cry of an owl, or until the world feels uncannily silent around you. Then throw a silver coin towards the noise, leave your circle and walk back to your house without looking behind you.