I have a question. It's been touched in before but I haven't fully understood so please forgive me. How do you get a label of "beginner" and then work yourself up, and how do you get promoted to council inside your coven?
The label is a show-what-you-know thing. Posting in forums and chat is the way to do that. It's really not a big deal. There are many who have a lot of knowledge. But without showing it, they get a low or no rank. As far as being council, you get promoted by your priestess and priest by doing the work.
Well there's a pinned forum is the General Information section which gives more detail, but your rank is determined by those ranked Knowledgeable or Adept, and in theory it's based off your forum and chat posts as well as any articles and spells you might contribute to the site.
The council thing works pretty much the same as rank. You join a coven and showing your skill and understanding get promoted. Of course both systems are run by people and [especially with covens] sometimes who you know can earn some points.
There are many knowledgeable users on SoM adding infomation and helping answer questions in the forums and chat you'll be able to find information and be guided in the right direction. Don't rely heavily on rank and coven status. While some view these as trophies, it's meant as a marker of study, and you'll gain more if you learn instead of pursue some words on your profile.