Willow does not have long to improve the Wards, that “clamp down” upon her Witchcraft, as her magic is soon required to assist Buffy: raising a “force field” (to help keep an “Uber Vampire” at bay), performing locator spells (to find other potential slayers, before The First can eliminate them), reopening a space/time portal (after Buffy jumped through one) and using a crystal/charm (to help a reformed Andrew remember more about The First).
Willow’s Redemption Spell – In balance, with the Goddess
The final test of Willow’s reformed character occurs when Buffy asks Willow to change the “Slayer” spell: so that all potential slayers shall have the same strength as Buffy (and Faith). Willow is initially scared by the request, as she believes the spell could take her beyond Evil Willow: into a total loss of self control. Fortunately, this turns out not to be the case: and after researching the spell, she is able to cast it with the help of Kennedy (a potential slayer), resulting in Willow glowing in white (and thus being equated with a Goddess). After the “Slayer” spell is successfully cast, Willow collapses from exhaustion; but is able to savour the fact that she has helped to defeat The First, and in doing so, has fully redeemed herself.
It is at this time (whilst having a hard time dealing with her emotions) that Willow realises how to turn Amy back from being a rat (by using a “Reveal It” spell). For a time, Willow has a new friend to practice magic with, who unlike Tara, does not have any morality concerns regarding magic (and its use).
Darker Willow – Smiling (with the “fun” in magic)
Amy helps lead Willow along a forbidden path: using magic for fun/pleasure. When this does not prove to be enough (for Willow), Amy introduces Willow to Rack (a warlock), who helps her experiment with black/dangerous magic: eventually resulting in Willow summoning a demon. Shortly after, things come to a head when Willow nearly kills Dawn (Buffy’s sister), and Willow is forced to admit that she needs help with her addiction to magic. It is here that we find the concept of a “spring clean“, when Buffy and Dawn help Willow remove all magical items from Buffy’s house (such as candles, charms and crystals), thereby removing temptation (so that Willow stands a better chance of going “cold turkey”). For a while, the tougher approach works, and “old reliable/nerdy” Willow is back (e.g. using computers for research).
Willows interest in the basics (such as charms, glamours and levitation) eventually turns into a desire to move to the next level (where spells involving conjuration, primal forces and transmutation can be found). Willow wants to learn this higher level, despite the fact that her basic spells are only being successful about fifty percent of the time.
Willow – Starting to “step up” her spells (a way to “fix” her problems!)
Fortunately, Willow soon meets a “like-minded” witch at a campus coven: Tara. It is through Tara that Willow starts to learn more about witchcraft, for example: Tara offers Willow a crystal as a gift (which Willow refuses), but leading to Willow suggesting that they can “try out some spells together with it”. Despite their growing friendship, Willow still casts spells without Tara’s assistance – particularly when its needed to help the scoobie gang.
Willow starts to learn more about the divine, when Miss Calendar tells Willow that her “rose quartz necklace has healing powers”. Unfortunately, Angel (Buffy’s vampire boyfriend) reverts to his former evil ways and kills Miss Calendar. As a result, Willow is asked (by the school principal) to take over the responsibility of teaching her lessons.
Early Willow – Pencilled a Path with her new found interest!
Whilst going through Miss Calendar’s lesson plans, Willow discovers Miss Calendar’s files on “paganism and magic”, together with some related internet links. Willow is unable to resist starting to read them – and later tells Giles that she finds the files “really interesting”. Willow then has one of her first dabbles in witchcraft, when she makes some scapulars (i.e. protection charms) using sulphur, to help protect the scoobie gang from a couple of ghosts (that are haunting their school). Willow’s reading does not stop there, and she continues to read Miss Calendar’s files for educational (and fun) purposes.