The next in our Mentor Spotlight series is newly graduated High Priestess Virginia Ann Villarreal. Nominated by three of her mentees, Hannah, Jacki, and Debbie, they tell us that, “Virginia, embodies the best qualities of encouragement and challenge while also expressing faith in those she mentors.”
Starting her mentorship of Hannah and Debbie in the aftermath of “Super Storm Sandy” Virginia managed to get Debbie—who lives in New Jersey—“up to speed” as power and cell phone services were returned to her area after the storm. Meeting Jacki at the following Templefest, “Virginia, ‘adopted’ Jacki as a mentee…the integration to the group was seamless and it was as if Jacki had been part of the group all along.” With this group located in different areas of the country the mentees explain that “Virginia exemplifies how one can create community regardless of physical distance.”
Check out below as Virginia, tells us a little about her life and her thoughts on mentoring.
It’s been a wonderful, crazy life I live. I love my job as a registered Tax preparer but what I really love is being a Witch. I live a Witchy life 24/7 and am proud to be free to live so. I serve my Pagan community to the best of my ability and volunteer as much as I can. At the moment I am Mid-South Regional Coordinator of The Pagan Pride Project, Local Coordinator of the Houston Pagan Pride Day, Coordinator of the GLBT Pagan Pride Float entered in the Houston Gay Pride Parade, and Coordinator of a woman’s retreat, CROW. I live in Porter, Texas, with my wife, Lorri and our fur babies. I have three children and four adorable grandchildren.
My spirituality has been a big part of my life since I was very small. Having an Apache grandmother brought me to shamanism and has always been a part of my practice. I have searched for years for a religion that I was happy with and that I fit into; but I did not fit in with any of the religions I studied. It wasn’t until I was in meditation that I was told to look for Wicca and my world would change forever. That is what I did, and in 2006 I attended a gathering in Georgia and met Christopher Penczak. All the covens and groups that I had tried to fit in with and just didn’t, became things of the past– stepping stones to where I am now. I am a graduate of Witchcraft V with the Temple of Witchcraft and mentor to four wonderful women who give me inspiration to mentor and teach. As a child I wanted to teach but as I grew I became a withdrawn nerd who was stuck in my books. I wasn’t until I took the journey of a lifetime with the Temple of Witchcraft that the love of teaching returned. I want to continue to teach and mentor with the Temple and maybe start a chapter here in Texas.
How long have you been a mentor?
I started mentoring in WCIII but my mentees would drop out but I kept trying and in WCV my mentor gave me four mentees who have stuck it out with me. I enjoy all four of them.
How do you approach mentoring? Your philosophy?
I approach mentoring as a give and take experience. I learn just as much from my mentees as they do from me. Mentoring also helps me practice what I learned. My philosophy of mentoring is that we all need one another and through the give and take of knowledge our minds are opened up to an extremely huge universe.
How do you know if you’ve been a successful mentor?
I know that I’ve been successful as a mentor when I am thanked because I helped someone understand what was misunderstood, and that I am asked for as a mentor for another year.
What advice would you give a new mentor?
I would advise a new mentor to listen to what your mentee is actually saying and to offer your help as much as needed.