In the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, fans know few forces are a magical match for Sunnydale’s resident witch, Willow Rosenberg. Throughout the show’s seven seasons, Willow’s spellcasting abilities grew, from levitating pencils to restoring vampire souls and even almost destroying the world during her Dark Willow days.
While the Buffyverse was already brimming with mystical energies and magics, Willow brought so much more to the mix through the powerful spells she conjured. It was because of this that the Scoobies stood a fighting chance against Big Bads like Adam, Glory, and the First. Willow’s skills in casting and even creating powerful spells made her one of the most formidable beings on the show.
10 Potential Slayer Locator Spell
Throughout Buffy, Willow used locator spells to the point that they seemed like the easiest for her to cast. She often used demon locator spells, but later expanded to tracking humans, like Warren in “Villains” and Dawn in “Him.”
In the Season 7 episode “Potential,” Willow cast a much more powerful spell to locate a Potential Slayer. Despite its stinky smell, the spell worked and the new Slayer, Amanda, was eventually found. A spell of this magnitude is the only known way to locate Slayers outside of relying on the Devon Coven, and Willow did it solo.
9 Transferring Spiritual Energies
In Season 4’s “This Year’s Girl,” Faith used a Draconian Katra from the Mayor to switch bodies with Buffy. In “Who Are You,” Faith, in Buffy’s body, raised no suspicion among the Scoobies. The only person to notice was the soon-to-be newest group member, Tara.
After learning of the Slayer’s fragmented energy, Willow conducted one of her most powerful spells to date. Anchored by Tara, Willow went into an astral projection-like state to locate Buffy’s energy in the Nether Realm. She then conjured a homemade Katra to transfer Buffy and Faith’s spiritual energies to the right bodies. Willow demonstrated an accelerating mystical prowess through conducting this impromptu reverse body swap.
8 Force Field Spell
Willow had been tinkering with force field spells since she revoked Angel’s invitation to her home and Buffy’s in Season 2’s “Passion.” By Season 5, she could easily create giant force fields. In “Spiral,” she protected the Scoobies from the Knights of Byzantium under a giant dome force field that could last half a day.
Willow could control the barrier, creating openings as needed. Only Glory was strong enough to break through it. In “Showtime,” Willow created a similar barrier in Buffy’s house to stop the Turok-Han. That barrier did not hold long, but it was suggested that was part of Buffy’s plan.
7 Teleportation Spell
Fighting a hell god in Season 5 certainly caused Willow to up her magic game, making her the only person to ever truly hurt Glory. One of the first times Willow did this was in “Blood Ties,” when she and Tara teleported Glory from the hospital to a point high in the sky above Sunnydale.
Though she did this with Tara, it appeared to be another instance where Willow’s power took over, resulting in her suffering a nose bleed and headaches. By Season 6, Dark Willow could teleport herself and even Dawn and Buffy at will.
6 The Ritual Of Restoration
Willow’s first truly powerful spell was the Ritual of Restoration, a spell to restore a vampire’s soul. In “Becoming, Part Two,” Willow successfully cast the spell, curing Angel.
To put this in perspective, Willow, a then-high school junior, perfectly executed a spell that had previously only been cast in 1898 by a presumably more experienced Kalderash elder. The lasting effects of this spell likely put Willow on the road to Dark Willow, as Giles warned it could deeply affect an untrained witch’s soul. In 2003, on the Buffy spinoff Angel, Willow performed the spell on Angelus again in “Orpheus.”
5 Entering One’s Mind
Just as Buffy learned in “Earshot,” reading minds can be overwhelming, difficult to control, and alienating for others. While Buffy did not ask for that temporary ability, by Season 5, Willow seemingly learned off the cuff how to not only read minds but enter them.
After Buffy fell went catatonic in “Spiral,” Willow performed a spell where she was able to enter Buffy’s mind and interact with it. She relived Buffy’s memories with her while helping bring her back to reality. This spell may also have informed Willow’s ability to reverse brain-suck Tara and stun Glory in “The Gift.”
4 Portal Spell
In “Get It Done,” Willow performed a complex spell opening a portal across time and space. After Buffy jumped into a gateway created by the shadow casters from the Slayer emergency kit, Willow was tasked with reopening the portal to get her back.
The magic within her quickly took over, similar to when she went solo during the Corporealization spell with Tara in “After Life.” Willow involuntarily began siphoning energy from Kennedy and Anya to fuel the power needed for the spell. She eventually reopened the portal, allowing Buffy to essentially time travel back to the present.
3 “My Will Be Done” Spell
Few spells are as powerful as the one Willow invoked to make her will become reality in “Something Blue.” Struggling with great sadness after Oz abruptly left, Willow attempted this spell to heal her broken heart.
As often happens, however, the spell went awry. Rather than mending her heart, the spell made real everything else Willow suggested, from Giles going blind, to Buffy and Spike getting engaged. Wacky hijinks aside, the power one could wield with this spell could have unimaginable consequences. It certainly caught the attention of D’Hoffryn. It is odd to think she never returned to this spell, even as Dark Willow.
2 Slayer Activation Spell
Outside of returning Angel’s soul and resurrecting Buffy, this spell is perhaps Willow’s most famous. Using the essence of the Slayer within Mʔ, the scythe designed for Sineya by the Guardians, Willow activated every Potential Slayer around the world.
In doing this, she tapped into the power surrounding the Slayer line and fundamentally changed a system that has been in place since before the last Old One left this dimension. The power required to do this was such that Willow feared she might revert to Dark Willow. However, she pushed beyond that to become, in Kennedy’s words, a goddess.
1 Resurrecting Buffy
While sharing the gifts of the Slayer with every Potential was an impressive move, no spell demonstrated as much power as the one Willow used to bring Buffy back from the dead. Each of the four Scoobies played a role in resurrecting Buffy, but Willow was the real power behind the ritual.
In fact, it was one of several mystical acts over the years that may have brought her closer to becoming Dark Willow. As graphically evidenced in “Bargaining, Part One,” Willow could withstand the trials to prove her worthiness and channel Osiris’ power. In an unparalleled move, she restored Buffy’s mind, body, and soul.
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