For many beginners, defining their practice and path can be difficult. Questions such as, "how do know which path to choose," or, "where do I even begin," are often raised by many of us who start our practice. AwakeTooLong also made a forum post of basic principles for beginners. Though it is quite lengthy, I recommend giving it a read as well.
I would like to formally aid those who are new to magic as a whole. Here, I am going to provide a few things that many novices alike should study before choosing a path or committing to a particular practice.
Foreword: I would like you to join me and add what you think are some fundamental steps to learning general magical practices. Everyone deserves help when they begin and we have the burden of knowledge, that which should be shared.
When you are freshly learning about magic, possibly from a movie or TV show, it can be hard to distinguish what could be real, and what could be fake. Things such as shapeshifting, teleportation, and invisibility are all figment of fantasy. Whereas others believe curses, spiritual travel, and divination are within the realm of the possible. We all have our on particular faiths and beliefs. But, there some fundamentals to learning magic that happen to be fairly universal no matter what practice you choose.
First and foremost, meditation (in my opinion) is the most important skill to learn. Meditation calms you down, opens your mind, and allows you to focus more intently on the task at hand. It can also help you with grounding and centering (more on that later. Personally, I use meditation to reach an Altered State of Consciousness. But, it can be used in many other ways (even no magical), such as helping you fall asleep, finding something new about yourself, ridding you of stress.
Walking on Your Own Two Feet
Once you've got the hang of meditation, it's time to progress to the slightly more challenging skills: Grounding and Centering, researching practices/paths, and familiarizing yourself with your own "power". Grounding and Centering is key to effectively controlling your magic, and helping with a ritual or spell.
Research, though a fairly normal task, is the utmost requirement for any path you choose. You must research what you are interest, what calls to you, and most importantly, what you feel is the right thing. Simple in words, more challenging in practice.
Now this one is largely opinion-based. When I say that you need to familiarize yourself with your power, I mean that you should take the time to feel the effects of your magic. For example, I have a rune set that I made and imbued with my blood and power, as per normal rune making rituals. I like to carry a single rune around during the day to see how it affects the day and my emotions, actions, conversations, etc. Not only does that give me a feeling for my own magic, but it shows me the true meaning of the runes through influence.
You're Ready for the World
Now that you've gotten some of these early fundamentals completed, you are ready for the final step.
You must devote yourself to your path. Study, worship, practice, do whatever you must to fit her your skill and knowledge. You have to stick to the path that called to you. Make sure to pay proper respects to any gods you choose to align yourself with. And practice at every available opportunity.
Please feel free to leave your our comments, suggestions, and advice.