I meditated upon your questions and summoned up Artemis to debate the best answers for these questions (We're cool like that. I helped her out with a few things once upon a time)... She had many good things to add to what I have to say, and the answers I give are a combination of our Answers to your Questions.
BTW: Artemis says good luck.1) Working with other Wiccans/Pagans.
We are all united by the call to something more... I'm sure that's what have made us seek out more than Christianity could offer us. But just as easily as we are all united by this single ideal, we are all divided by the same belief that we saught after so long. You must understand that the practice of Magick and the study of Paganism and the Occult have led us all down different paths, and not all of them will respond the same way you would-
And the new girl? She's probably still nervous. It's hard for many to turn their back from a life of ritual and structure to a life of freedom that she's been taught was evil and devil-worshipping. Give her time, and try to comfort her choice. If she decides to turn back to Catholicism, tell her that she can do that too.
We don't Prosthelize (or however you spell it).2) Working with other, less experienced students who don't want to do much more than try and form a cult of Oogy-Boogy witches who have no idea what they could be doing, much less why they're doing it.
Try to make your friend understand that, on this path, there's more danger of persecution than any other religion on earth. Remind them of the Witch Trials and the Inquesition, and make sure they understand that history repeats itself... Alot. Make sure they know that there's many people around the world who can't even be implicated of this, even in the U.S., but still persue it because of the joy that follows it.
Relate it as a belief, and a following of the gods of old, instead of some kind of lifestyle. Do this and it'll work out.3) Being 'numb' to certain energies the first few tries you try to find them.
As there are different forms of Magick, Paganism, and beliefs, there are many different ways that the power can be conjured up. For example, there are some who will want the gods to bless it, some will conjure up spirits to bind to the object, etc.
It was once said that there's more than one way to skin a cat- This is true in casting spells and using Magick.
So, your body hasn't adjusted to the new form of magick yet, because your mind doesn't UNDERSTAND it. And, since the body's influence to new energies is to not respond, because it doesn't really know HOW to respond. If you can get around this mental block, you should be able to find it easier.4) Guilt for not having the right environment or circumstances to actively practice, or being too constantly overworked/tired/emotionally sick to do a ritual.
This sounds like a problem of your body and mind... A reaction to lonliness in spite of being absolutely free.
I PMed you about how to deal with this.5) Fearing for my safety or feeling stupid when I recite prayers or perform rituals.
See 46) Feeling unworthy to call myself by the title of Wiccan, fear of inexperience or a need of attention showing through, and feeling unworthy to practice in general because of habits, or other's opinions.
I know what you feel... Remember that there's many more Witches and Wizards out there that feel exactly what you do. Millions, perhaps more. We all pine for the day we could dance in the streets duiring Samhain or Beltane without, in the back of our minds, the fear of punishment. We can only bide our time in the shadows, or go out and actively work to press on the world to try to accept us.
But, the true Magick in Magick is that it never dies! It always lives, and will always carry on. Words fade away, books burn, people die, alters decay, but Magick- Magick never dies away... It's always there, and always exists.