Over the years, I've been asked thousands upon thousands of times by people, that all ask the same question "How do I become a Witch?" Unfortunately, a lot of them have a very misguided idea of what Witches are really like and what it means to become one truly. The impressions many have of what we do and believe I find very disturbing. They see Witches as people who spend the bulk of their time casting an endless array of spells to make everything in life go their way, no matter who they stomp on in the process, with a library of spells for every purpose they desire. Even worse are the ones that believe in TV & Movies. You'd be surprised, shocked actually, at how many people (not just kids) think the character of "Willow" the Witch on a show called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is an accurate portrayal of a Real Witch! I'd love to float on the ceiling, or stand on top of a Mac truck, shoot lightning from my fingers, or be able to read books by putting my hand on them and 'absorb' the contents, but that's ALL fiction. We can't do ANY of the cool tricks you see her do.
So what is a Witch? The word Witch actually means "wise woman", but it should be noted that males are also referred to as Witches too. They are usually very adept at various forms of divination and know a great deal about the powers of herbs and gemstones. They are usually very good healers as well. But every Witch I know also follows some form of Wiccan/ Pagan, or Neo-Paganism religion as well. "Neo" means the Paganism we practice now, as opposed to our ancestors.
A Witch is a person who has mastered the ways of Magick and performs Magick spells and rituals. I myself am very knowledgeable about herbs, gardening, gemstones, moon phases, and divination. Tarot seems to be the favorite, but rune stones come in at a close second, along with scrying and pendulum gazing for simple yes or no questions.
Paganism is an umbrella term for all the different religious paths one can follow, such as Wicca, Druid, Celtic, etc. No different than referring to oneself as a Christian, but not mentioning you are Protestant, Episcopalian, etc. This shows the difference between Witchcraft, and say, Wicca. Have you ever heard of ancient times when Wiccans were burned at stake anywhere in history? Even when King James changed a passage in the bible to "Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live," he wasn't talking about Wiccans. Why? Because Wicca has only been around since the early 1950s and was brought out into the open by Gerald Gardens, considered the father of Witchcraft. One of his apprentices was the gifted poet that wrote the Charge of the Goddess. So as you can see, there is a difference between Witchcraft and Paganism (although most incorporate the two quite nicely).
Yet of the thirty-something books I have on Wicca, all say that Witchcraft and Wicca are the same things. If that was true, then anyone who practices Witchcraft would be Wiccan, even though they aren't, and follow a different Pagan path such as Celtic, Druid, Diantic, or some other form of Paganism. Doesn't make much sense since when you put it that way, does it? (shrug) Some Witches refer to themselves as Witches, while others choose to refer to themselves by the religious path they follow, such as "Celtic".
The first thing you have to understand is that Witchcraft *is* a craft, and like any craft, it takes a lot of studies and practice before you can become proficient at it. In any Coven, it is traditional that a person must do extensive study and practice for a year and a day before they can even refer to themselves as a Witch. It's a good idea for the countless number of solitary 'would be' Witches to follow this rule as well. On the day you finish your year & a half of study is when you choose whether whatever path you're on is right for you. If it is, a ritual called "The Initiation" is done in which you pledge yourself to follow that path, after which you can refer to yourself as a Witch or Wiccan, Celtic, etc. A solitary Witch in training can easily design their own ritual when the time comes, as they have studied and practiced enough to know how to properly perform spells and rituals.
You also must understand that learning the ways of Witchcraft is not going to take just a year and a day. You must continue to avidly practice and read as much as you can your whole life. Witchcraft is a lifelong journey of wonder that only stops when you stop trying to learn. And the very first thing you should learn is meditation and doing visualization exercises, along with studying. The Witchcraft 101 course is a good place to start, followed by the Complete Magick course. As I said over and over in my spells essay, you cannot perform Magick if you can't reach a meditative or trance state, as well as have crystal clear visualization skills. And as you'll read on my meditation page, it's a heck of a lot more than sitting around staring at a candle.
All good Witches follow some code of ethics such as the Wiccan Rede's "Harm None, Do As You Will," karma, what comes around, goes around, do unto others as you want them to do to you, and others. This means they don't use Magick to hurt anyone, including themselves. We don't sacrifice animals, or babies, or worship the devil, Satan, Lucifer, or whatever you want to call it. The devil is an entity that simply doesn't exist in Witchcraft or Paganism. It's an entity from Christian and Muslim religions, not ours. You can't worship what you don't even believe exists now, can you?
What about those pentacles you wear? A pentacle is a 5 pointed star with a circle around it. The top point stands for spirit, the other four the four directions, north, south, east, and west. The circle around the star stands for the Wiccan God/Goddess, as well as refracts or reflects all light bringing the total wearer intelligence, universal wisdom, and protection. Satanists turn the pentacle upside down, as well as Christian, crosses to be scary and a true Satanist doesn't worship Satan either. Anton LeVay (the creator of Satanism) just used the name for a sacrilegious reason and to get everyone's attention.