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.
Willow’s character then has to atone for what she has done. Firstly, she has to change her attitudes (and beliefs) towards magic. Secondly, she has to accept responsibility for the fact that she caused pain to her friends (and enemies). Thirdly, she has to face up to the fact that Tara is dead. Giles is able to help with the first of these: by taking Willow to a coven where she can work towards reconnecting with the “true essence of magic“. This is achieved by helping Willow connect with nature, and in doing so, become closer to “Mother Earth” (and all things good). Willow has a harder time dealing with the second: as she’s worried that the Scoobie Gang won’t want to know her (after what she did to them).
Willow’s Atonement – What if they won’t take me back?
Upon returning to Sunnydale, Willow does not have time to see whether or not she’s fully recovered, as her magic is required straight away: Willow casts her “Demonic Energy” locator spell (with assistance from Anya), involving candles and the scattering of powder on a map, to help her track down a demon (that’s been flaying its victims). The Scoobie Gang initially suspect that Willow may be responsible for the flaying (because that’s what she did to Warren), although Dawn eventually discovers another possibility: a demon. It is only after encountering this demon (and chatting with Anya), that the Scoobie Gang realise that something else is a foot: as Anya can see Willow, but the rest of the Scoobie Gang can’t. It turns out that Willow has not yet fully recovered: she was so afraid of her friends rejecting her, that she managed to subconsciously cast a spell, whereby they were unable to see each other. Once the spell is reversed, an important indication of friendship occurs: Buffy allows Willow to take energy from her, so that Willow may magically heal herself (from the injuries the demon inflicted).
When it comes to the character of the “Wiccan Witch” Tara, these are my favourite seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Best seasons to watch for Tara – the “Wiccan Witch” – Buffy Seasons Four, Five and Six
I feel that Tara’s character best portrayed the paths of a “Nature Witch“. She started as a shy, stuttering, “Solitary Witch” who was always over looked by other people (akin to a new born seed – taking roots in the soil). She then starts to venture out (at a campus Coven), where she meets Willow, and starts to put her ideas forward (akin to the seed’s roots spreading out – in search of Water and Soil). She then slowly “Blossoms into a Flower”, walking the paths of Happy and Fun, when it’s realised that both her, and Willow, are Soul-mates (akin to a Plant that’s bathing in the “Rays of the Sun”). Yet then does her character surprise the most, as she becomes someone that’s both strong and dependable, having grasped the “True Nature of Witchcraft“, when Willow starts to go “Off the Rails” (akin to a plant with “Strong Roots”, that’s able to “Weather the Storm”). Yet just when we have grown accustomed to seeing the plant each day, are we reminded of the “Wrath of the Earth”, when Tara is snapped away (akin to a plant that got flattened one day) – it’s “Cycle Complete”, and the Earth starts again.