|Notable distinctions :||Intense celestial light|
Giant wings when showing power
Can only possess vessels with permission
Can destroy most lower beings
|Main weaknesses :|| Angel-banishing sigil|
|Related to :||God|
|Culture(s) of origin :||Various; primarily Abrahamic religions|
|Native range :|| Heaven|
|First appearance :||Tall Tales (chronologically)|
Angels - also called celestials - are pure, powerful celestial spirits of Heaven, created by God as soldiers. They are a very powerful supernatural race, far superior to demons. Angels manifest on Earth by taking human vessels as physical forms, although angelic possession has more strict and symbiotic rules than demonic possession.
Angels have a true, spiritual visage, described as a "multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent." (The Third Man) Little else is known about angels' true forms, except that they each possess two or more large, feathered wings extending from their backs. Angels' true forms have been mentioned to be immensely large (with Castiel's being the approximate height of the Chrystler Building), (Family Matters) as having halos, (Clip Show) and as having multiple faces (some of which can be animalistic). (Dark Side of the Moon)
Though it seems to take very immense and violent power, it is possible to cause damage to angels' true forms, which can in turn impact on the angel's own abilities and strength. After Metatron's spell diminished all angels, some of the angels (such as Gadreel, Castiel and several others) were left with their angelic forms' wings partially broken and deteriorated away, (Devil May Care, Meta Fiction, Book of the Damned) and others (such as Hael and some of Bartholomew's angels) apparently lost their wings completely. (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, Holy Terror)
When angels fully manifest in their true visages on the physical plane, their true forms would originally be visualised as intense, blinding, burning white light; (The Monster at the End of This Book onwards) but after being diminished by the Fall, angels instead now appear as bright fluid streams of blue-white energy. (Holy Terror onwards) Angels' true voices are also heard as high-pitched, intense sonic screams, which are powerful enough to shatter glass. (Lazarus Rising, The Song Remains the Same, I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here) Angels' true forms are so intense to humans that looking upon it (be it in person or just through a psychic vision) would - unless the human was part of a vessel bloodline, able to better take angels' true visages - burn the human's eyeballs away; (Lazarus Rising) although it seems that after the angels have been diminished by the Fall, their incorporeal forms can now be safely viewed by all humans. (I'm No Angel et al.)
Angels' true forms cannot properly interact with or directly influence the physical plane much at all, nor can angels channel their powers and abilities directly or fully when they are on Earth without a vessel. However, angels can still exercise a limited level of influence over the Earth in this disembodied state. Angels without vessels can roam on Earth in their true forms without fully manifesting; in this state, to the physical plane they're nothing more than an invisible, intangible presence with no solidity or physical position; although when a vesselless angel partially manifests its powers, it can cause supernatural winds to whip up out of nowhere and cause buildings to tremble. (Sympathy for the Devil, I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here) Angels can also still contact humans in their dreams, and even project specific illusions and hallucinations onto that human's mind, when they're circling that human in their true form, (Sympathy for the Devil) and they can communicate in their true voices over electronic devices such as radios if they don't wnat to cause destructive damage by directly fully manifesting their true voices. (The Rapture)
When an angel is possessing a vessel, usually the vessel appears completely human. However, when an angel is displaying its immense cosmic power, usually in shows of ferocity and strength, then its vessel's eyes and/or body may emit a brilliant, pure bluish-white light, and/or shadows of two of the angel's wings may appear.
Angels who possess, or have possessed, vessels are usually visualised by humans as their vessel's appearance, even in spiritual realms, or in psychic projections or in mindscapes within a person's mind. According to Zachariah, this is because humans are still too "limited" to see angels' true forms even besides its effect of burning humans' eyes away. (Dark Side of the Moon)
Perception and sensesEdit
Angels are able to detect and perceive almost any and all forms of supernatural phenomena and miscellanea around them or within sight of them. They can see demons' true faces past their vessels', and they can also recognise and identify other angels in vessels individually. Angels can naturally pierce the Veil as well, and see invisible entities such as reapers. (Abandon All Hope...}) Angels can also instantly recognise time-travellers who are out of time with a look, (The End, The Song Remains the Same) and they are aware of changes to reality such as the creation of alternate timelines. (My Heart Will Go On) Angels are capable of tracking, homing in on and locating any human anywhere on Earth who isn't warded or cloaked from angelic detection; this is referred to as 'angel radar.'
As multidimensional beings, angels perceive atoms, ions and electromagnetic waves; they can even talk on subatomic frequencies, which is how they communicate on angel radio. (Dark Side of the Moon) It also enables them to hear and decipher radio modulation signals. However, angels can voluntarily block these subatomic frequencies out of their perception if they so choose. (Hunter Heroici)
Angels' subatomic level of perception and senses also enables them to instantly identify a person by smelling a body part such as their body, bone or blood, (Survival of the Fittest) and they can even smell humans' genes and hormones from on their bodies and assess the person's physical traits and condition from it. (Hunter Heroici) Angels' senses and perception also means that they don't taste physical food and drink the same as a human would, and instead taste the molecules. Castiel lamented that food such as PB&J tasted disgusting to his angelic senses, but other angels have been occasionally observed to consume and enjoy human foods such as ice-cream. (First Born, Stairway to Heaven et al.)
Angels can possess living human vessels which act as corporeal forms for said angels that allow them to interact better and more conveniently on the physical plane. But unlike demons, all angels need a vessel to consent by saying "yes" to possession before they can possess them. (Season 5) However, the vessel does not need to directly say yes to angelic possession for the angel to possess them, but can also say yes to another thing which will involve the angel possessing the vessel to achieve it. Angels can also possess graceless angels' vessels as well. (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here) It is also possible for an angel to give another angel permission to possess their vessel, in which case the two would share the body; though this may have been a special case, since in the only known instance of it occurring, the vessel possessed by the two angels was soulless. (The Devil in the Details, The Vessel et al.)
Though angels can possess most humans, unlike with demons, angels can only possess humans whose bodies are strong enough to house and contain said angels. These strong angel vessels run in bloodlines, though their strength varies between lines; some vessels are stronger than others, and there is only one bloodline known to produce vessels pure and strong enough for Michael or Lucifer. If an angel possesses a vessel strong enough to contain it indefinitely, then the angel will be at its fullest potential, while the vessel will suffer no physical impact or deterioration from containing the angel; and the vessel will not age so long as the angel remains inside it.
If an angel possesses a vessel that isn't strong enough for the angel's power-level, then the vessel will wear and burn away from containing the angel and eventually combust (either within seconds of possession, or gradually over a length of time); (Season 5, I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, I'm No Angel) and the angel's power-channelling capabilities in the vessel will be more limited than in a stronger vessel. Due to this rule, the stronger an angel is, the fewer potential vessels it has. For archangels, any vessel in the Winchester bloodline originating from Cain can contain them, but they each have only one true vessel whom they can channel their fullest powers through.
When an angel is possessing a vessel, the former can exhibit superhuman strength, stamina and powerful angelic abilities through the vessel, and it can sustain and repair any physical damage done to the vessel with earthly weapons and other weapons incapable of harming angels. Angelic possession can apparently be a very unpleasant experience for the vessel; Jimmy Novak described being possessed by Castiel as like being bound to a comet, (The Rapture) and it has been implied that each and every time an angel uses its powers in its vessel and/or the vessel's possessed body sustains physical damage and is repaired by the angel, the vessel will feel this. (The Rapture, Like a Virgin) Angels seem to usually keep their vessel's consciousness suppressed and/or asleep inside their own mind, although an angel can converse non-physically with their vessel while possessing the vessel's body if they wish - Lucifer described doing this as "tak[ing] the gag off" (Swan Song) - and can also voluntarily give the vessel control of their body back. (Season 9)
Angels can leave their vessels whenever they wish, (Season 5, Season 9) or can be exorcised/removed from their vessels by higher and more powerful angels (The Rapture) or by an angelic-exorcism chant. (On the Head of a Pin) Also, the person an angel is possessing as their vessel can, through incredibly strong emotions and willpower, take control of their body back from the angel; (Swan Song) and if the vessel does have control over their body instead of the angel possessing them, then they can either hold the angel inside them, trapped, (Swan Song) or eject the angel from their body. (Season 9)
After an angel has left its vessel, the vessel will be left alive but with little or no memory from when they were under possession, (The Devil You Know, Season 9) and the vessel may also feel very hungry (as angels do not need food and thus do not eat often in vessels). (The Rapture) Though the angel's celestial attributes and influence are almost entirely gone from the vessel after the angel has left it, a small leftover trace of the angel's grace will remain within the vessel, but will fade away over time. (First Born)
Archangels can render their vessels hollowed out and empty after angelic possession, leaving the vessel blank and catatonic after the archangel leaves it. (Free to Be You and Me, The Song Remains the Same) However, Michael indicated that the catatonic state in archangels' former vessels is caused by a lack of care on the archangel's part and the catatonia in the vessel can be voluntarily avoided; Michael once temporarily possessed John Winchester without any long-term ill-effects on John, and he claimed he would also be sure not leave Dean catatonic had he possessed Dean for the Apocalypse. (The Song Remains the Same)
Angels are very powerful cosmic beings which are in possession of a wide range of supernatural abilities. They are by far more powerful than monsters and most demons, but are still surpassed in power by Leviathans, horsemen, Antichrists, God and Eve. However, following the Fall, all the angels excluding Metatron have been diminished by the Fall's effects.
Among the common powers granted to all angels (albeit with varying strength and effectiveness) are: telekinesis with which to easily move people and objects with their minds, and abilities of astral projection. Angels also had teleportation powers through which they could instantly teleport themselves and/or others from any one location on Earth to another, or teleport between dimensions (primarily between Earth and Heaven); but after the Fall, the affected angels have lost their teleportation ability.
An angel can instantly render a human unconscious, by putting their middle and index fingers to the human's forehead. Angels can also kill humans, and lesser supernatural creatures, by a deadly smiting method: the angel places a hand to the target's face or forehead and channeling an amount of burning celestial power into the target which seems to burn their body out from the inside. Angels can use this ability to kill humans, demons, and monsters; although low-level angels are unable to successfully use this ability on high-level demons such as Alastair. (Heaven and Hell)
Excluding humans wearing Enochian angel-warding, (Sympathy for the Devil et al.) angels can track and locate any human anywhere on Earth. Also, when a human prays to an angel or calls out their name, that angel will hear it from wherever they are, on Earth or in Heaven. Apparently, in the case of humans who'd known and prayed to an angel in the past, it can simply be feelings of longing for comfort from them that the angel hears, without any verbal prayer. (The Hunter Games) When an angel puts a human or demon under their protection, they can protect this person with a charm from physical harm such as burning and from weaker angels' and creatures' powers. (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Angels can contact humans in their dreams; even if the human in question is warded against angelic detection. Angels are also capable of manipulating humans' minds and memories; wiping their memories or creating new, fabricated ones. (It's a Terrible Life, The Song Remains the Same, Let It Bleed) Angels can also read each-other's minds, at least when the angel whose mind is being read willingly allows it. (My Bloody Valentine)
When an angel possesses a vessel, they greatly enhance the vessel's stamina and physical ability; with angels being able to exhibit superhuman levels of strength through the vessel, and also enhancing the vessel's sense of smell, accommodating the angel's subatomic level of perception and senses. Angels can also sustain any physical injury to their vessels that is done with anything less than an angel-harming weapon, and can repair this damage almost instantly. As multidimensional wavelengths and spiritual entities, angels never age nor tire, nor do they require food, water or sleep to sustain themselves like humans do.
Angels can bend time, with effort; allowing them to transport themselves and others backwards of forwards through time. Achieving time travel was very difficult for low-level angels and would weaken them, (In the Beginning, The Song Remains the Same) and would be even more damaging if said regular angels were cut off from Heaven. (The Song Remains the Same) After the Fall diminished almost all the angels, Lucifer is the only angel known to still be capable of time travel. (The Vessel)
Angels have an ability to almost-instantly heal away injuries, diseases and mortal ailments that afflict a human, usually by little more than placing their hand over the person's affected area, if that. They can also perform this healing process on injuries to other angels' vessels when said angels are too wounded and weak to be able to afford healing themselves. Angels are even capable of resurrecting deceased humans; provided that both the person's body and soul are accessible to the angel and that the angel currently has direct access to at least one of these.
Some angels ranking higher than regular angels such as Zachariah have displayed powers and abilities not seen in regular angels; including a small amount of reality-warping, making themselves invisible to humans, (The Man Who Would Be King) and generating a powerful blast of destructive white energy. (Mommy Dearest) Some mid-level angels can also read humans' souls in a procedure which is excruciating for the human, (The Third Man onwards) and can erase, restore, alter, and fabricate memories in human minds. (It's a Terrible Life, Let It Bleed) Some angels can manipulate humans' biology as well to induce haemorrhaging and agony in said humans, (Sympathy for the Devil, Point of No Return) and can physically hold demons in their smoke form. (The Man Who Would Be King)
The higher and most powerful of the angels, such as the archangels, possess several greater special abilities and a vast amount of power; being able to shapeshift and change their vessel's form, and to warp and alter reality to their whim and create portals and illusions with little visible effort, and overpower most other supernatural creatures such as demons, monsters, pagan gods and lower angels easily.
High-level angels such as the archangels can also obliterate humans and lesser angels and manipulate their bodies'/vessels' molecules to cause them to explode. The archangels seemed to be able to manipulate the weather and the elements with their powers and even their mere presence; archangels could cause great quakes and massive widespread storms on the Earth with their will, the fallen archangel Lucifer's presence can cause temperature drops in his vicinity on the mortal plane, and Raphael could manipulate electricity to cause massive widespread blackouts.
Cherub angels such as cupids can influence humans' feelings and emotions to make two humans fall in love so as to bring couples together. Cupids' love-striking process apparently involves a small sigil in the cupid's hand called a cupid's bow, and leaves an Enochian mark on the two lovestruck partners' respective hearts.
Angels possess a telepathic web of sorts, referred to as "angel radio," which they use to communicate with or send messages among the rest of their kind collectively or over long distances. (I Know What You Did Last Summer onwards) It was once implied by Metatron that angel radio is divided into different channels and frequencies, each one for a different angelic caste or division; according to him, there is a specific frequency on angel radio for cupids' assignments on Earth. (Clip Show) According to Castiel, angel radio uses subatomic frequencies for telepathic communication among angels. (Hunter Heroici)
All and any angels can hear other angels communicating over angel radio, (I Know What You Did Last Summer onwards) although they can apparently block it out if they choose to. (Hunter Heroici) Humans naturally cannot hear angel radio, although it is possible for dead humans in Heaven to, with high levels of intelligence and computer skills, rig up a system capable of hacking into angel radio. (Dark Side of the Moon) During Metatron's rule over Heaven, his angels created tannoy radio which, when activated, would broadcast over all frequencies on angel radio, to every angel in Heaven and on Earth. (Do You Believe in Miracles?)
Harming and blockingEdit
There are some means of trapping, repelling and harming angels, one of the most common being holy fire; when holy oil is set alight and becomes holy fire, if an angel crosses the flames, it will be destroyed. (Free to Be You and Me onwards) However, Michael would only be sent away rather than killed if and when he is burned by holy fire. (Swan Song) Angels can also still exercise some of their powers (such as telekinesis) beyond a circle of holy fire, and can safely cross over holy fire by using another being such as a demon as a human bridge over the flames. (Abandon All Hope...)
Enochian warding has a protective effect against angels; angels cannot detect or by themselves locate humans wearing Enochian runes as they can other humans anywhere on Earth, (Season 5) and painting Enochian warding sigils onto a building's walls can keep angels from entering the building, (Death Takes a Holiday onwards) provided that the sigils are painted accurately. (The Man Who Would Be King) Similarly, hexbags can hide people from detection by most angels. (Heaven and Hell onwards) One known means of blocking some of an angel's powers and abilities is impaling large spikes through the angel's vessel's brain. (Torn and Frayed) Eve was also capable of suppressing angels' powers and abilities with her presence. (Mommy Dearest)
A sufficient amount of torture on an angel can break the angel and access its 'operating system,' the knowledge that is pre-programmed into angels' being. When an angel is tortured terribly enough, its screams can affect reality in the surrounding area and cause strange occurrences that echo the angel's screams, such as glass shattering and vegetation burning and screaming. (Torn and Frayed)
Angels cannot be harmed nor killed by conventional nor earthly methods, and are unaffected by many weapons that would at least harm or deter spiritual beings such as demons and ghosts. Though angels are much more difficult to kill and defeat than most other supernatural creatures, it is still possible. (Season 4)
The most common method of killing or wounding angels is an angel blade; non-fatal injuries (such as shallow cuts and slashes) inflicted with an angel blade will temporarily wound, weaken and agonise the angel inside the vessel, while a fatal injury (such as a stab that goes deep enough or hits a vital area on the host body) will kill the angel with the vessel.
When an angel dies this way, its vessel will release a blast of bright white-blue light as the angel perishes; this blast of dying light was originally intense and powerful enough to fill a large building and cause some disruption to the surrounding area, but following the Fall's effects, the dying blast seems to be greatly diminished. Upon the angel's destruction, imprints of two of its wings will burn into the surface where its dead vessel falls. (On the Head of a Pin et al.) It would appear that, regardless of how many wings the angel's true form actually has, it is always two wings that are imprinted when the angel dies; seeing as Zachariah's true form was said to have six wings, (Dark Side of the Moon) yet it was still only two that appeared when he was killed. (Point of No Return) It has also been indicated that when an angel is killed, its destruction incinerates its vessel's internal organs. (I'm No Angel)
As well as angel blades, any mundane solid object indigenous to Heaven, such as a piece of rubble, can be used to inflict fatal injury to an angel. (Do You Believe in Miracles?) The First Blade could apparently kill angels as well; although, like an angel blade, it would take a conventionally-fatal wound to destroy the angel, and a shallower wound such as a slash would just wound and weaken it. (Stairway to Heaven, Do You Believe in Miracles?) According to Crowley, Death's scythe was capable of killing angels, among other supernatural creatures. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
Leviathans are capable of killing angels, and are immune to angels' powers; a Leviathan can quickly and easily overpower angels, (Blood Brother, A Little Slice of Kevin) and can kill them by sticking its fist into the angel's vessel and gruesomely destroy the angel in a process which fills the angel's vessel with black Leviathan ooze. (Reading Is Fundemental)
The most common means of banishing angels is a seal which, when drawn in human or angel blood and activated, will send all and any angels in the immediate vicinity away to another part of the Earth (unless the sigil is used by an angel, in which case that particular angel will be unaffected). (Heaven and Hell onwards, Lucifer Rising) However, if the seal is drawn on an angel's vessel; in the latter case, the angel will also be sent away by the use of the seal, and its powers and abilities will permanently be heavily weakened. (Point of No Return, Two Minutes to Midnight)There is also a very powerful spell, involving three angelic-related parts, which, when carried out, will expel every angel in Heaven to Earth and lock the majority of their ways back into Heaven irreversibly. (Sacrifice, Season 9) There is also an exorcism chant which, when said, can exorcise angels from their vessels and send them back to Heaven. (On the Head of a Pin)
Cut off from HeavenEdit
While any angels of above-average power-level possess and retain all of their powers independently, low-level angels are partially reliant on their connection to Heaven for their powers; if a regular angel is cast out and cut off from Heaven, then that angel will lose some of its powers and be weaker without its connection to Heaven, as observed when Castiel was fallen during the Apocalypse before his second resurrection and upgrade. (Season 5)
When Castiel was cut off from Heaven, the abilities he lost were: his healing and resurrection powers, (Good God, Y'All!) and his smiting touch. (Abandon All Hope...) Also, he and Anna were both much more heavily weakened, even damaged, by the strain of travelling through time in their fallen state than a stronger angel or one connected to Heaven would be. (In the Beginning, The Song Remains the Same) Also, in this fallen and weakened state, when Castiel activated an angel-banishing sigil carved into his own vessel, its effects caused him to lose all his remaining angelic power, leaving him fully mortal. (Point of No Return, Two Minutes to Midnight)
In contrast to humans who were created to be flawed, chaotic and free, angels were designed by God to be perfect, orderly and obedient, the perfect soldiers. Angels naturally possess less capacity for free will than humans; they are designed to be completely loyal and obedient to whatever cause, faith or loyalty they follow, and they are highly ruthless, stoic and over-resolved about obeying their orders or doing what they believe to be necessary. However, angels are not actually emotionless or will-less, it is simply that orders and obedience are usually a higher drive and purpose to them than theirs or others' moral views, regardless of reluctance or doubts.
Despite their ruthless and aloof mindsets and lack of free will compared to humans, angels are very much capable of human emotions and character flaws such as love, anger, pettiness, longing, arrogance, cheer, regret, doubt, loyalty and remorse. However, angels usually consider said emotions to be weaknesses and doorways to doubt, and thus they rarely display or admit to having emotions, and are capable of putting their emotions and doubts aside to do what they've been ordered to do or believe they must do. While they naturally lack the concept of free will over order and purpose, angels are still capable of learning to gain free will for themselves; although the concept is much harder for angels to grasp, to the point that most but not all can't even take being free to have to choose for themselves and be governed by emotions and independent thoughts.
Due to their age and power, many angels can be condescending and arrogant, especially towards creatures they consider inferior such as humans and demons. However, there are still some angels which are more civil and respectful with smaller beings such as humans, and a few who even consider humans better than them for humanity's more positive traits and capabilities in spite of their flawed, chaotic nature.
Though most angels are cold, aloof and socially-inept, there are some angels who are quite the opposite: showing a more whimsicial and emotional demeanour with a sense of humour. It would seem that these are angels who have more personal experience than most, were created with more intelligence and independence like the archangels were, or have had a lot of experience on Earth and/or of humans.
Each and every angel's being is pre-programmed by God with knowledge that even the angels aren't themselves aware of. (Torn and Frayed) Angels also, be it through programming or age and experience, possess extensive intelligence, calculation and knowledge of the world and of the supernatural. Another trait of angels is that each and every one automatically knows the names of all potential prophets; past, present and future (although they cannot tell the names of future prophets before they've been born). (99 Problems, A Little Slice of Kevin)
An angel's grace, its energy, is what allows the angel to access and utilise its angelic powers and abilities and makes angels what they are; if an angel is separated from its grace then the angel in question will be rendered powerless and can become human. (Heaven and Hell, Sacrifice, Season 9) A fallen low-level angel can also become mortal when it is cut off from and separated from Heaven completely enough, with its powers and immortality draining away over time. (The End, Two Minutes to Midnight)
If an angel is possessing a vessel when it loses its powers, then the vessel will become the angel's human body. (Sacrifice, Season 9) If an angel loses its grace in its natural, spiritual form, then the angel can be reborn as a human; entering a human woman's womb and causing her (even if sterile) to fall pregnant with a physical human reincarnation of the angel. (Heaven and Hell)
After losing its grace and becoming mortal, an angel apparently gains more human feelings, thoughts, emotions and free will, (Heaven and Hell) and its human body ages as normal humans' do, becomes vulnerable to mortal injuries and ailments, and requires food, water and sleep. (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here) It was also implied by Metatron that humanised angels gain souls as well; (Sacrifice) and it is known that human angels can be possessed by proper angels like true humans can and thus share their vessel with the other angel. (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here)
Without their grace, angels also lose the majority of their angelic powers; although they can still use some telekinesis and electrokinesis when feeling scared or threatened, and can still sense powerful supernatural events such as Lucifer's seals breaking. (I Know What You Did Last Summer) Human angels can also still recognise other angels (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, Heaven Can't Wait) and see demons' true faces beneath their host bodies', (I Know What You Did Last Summer) though they still cannot recognise reapers possessing human bodies. (I'm No Angel)
If and when a humanised angel consumes and is recombined with its grace which it was separated from, then the humanised angel will become a proper, full-fledged angel again, regaining its original angelic powers and its angel mindest and behaviour. (Heaven and Hell) A human angel can also become a celestial again even by consuming and absorbing the grace of another angel as a substitute; (Holy Terror) but as the substitute grace is not the angel's own, it will gradually burn out over time and eventually kill the angel, thus taking another angel's grace is not a permanent solution. (Meta Fiction)
There are few known means of resurrecting angels after they've been killed, and it has been implied that only extremely powerful beings can achieve it. God is known to be capable of resurrecting deceased angels, and can even change their angelic level when bringing them back to life. The second time God resurrected Castiel, he restored and upgraded Cass's lost angelic powers, "new and improved." (Swan Song) It was also implied by Raphael that a powerful archangel like Lucifer could resurrect dead low-level angels. (Free to Be You and Me) Graceless angels who have been rendered human due to the loss of their grace, when killed, can be revived by other angels in practically the same manner as humans can be. (I'm No Angel)
Types and ranksEdit
The more normal/common class of angels rank below the archangels and mid-level angels but above cherubim. They are less powerful compared to higher orders of angels but are still very strong and formidable and capable of easily destroying all but the higher-ranking demons. Regular angels are grouped into garrisons and largely serve as the fighters and field soldiers of Heaven.
The mid-tier class of angels rank above regular angels but below the archangels, and are more powerful than regular angels but still much less than archangels. The higher-ranking mid-level angels reported directly to the archangels and acted as 'senior managers' over the lower angel echelons.
The highest and most powerful class of angels in Heaven and Heaven's original leaders and controllers in God's absence before their downfall, archangels are immensely powerful, with the lower angel orders reporting to them. Archangels largely serve as the generals of Heaven, and are immensely powerful and very fierce celestials.
Cherubim are an angel caste lower down the celestial chain of command than regular-level angels, which are divided into at least three orders, including cupids. Cupids are third class cherubim, which serve Heaven by pathokinetically bringing human couples on Earth together on their angel superiors' orders. (My Bloody Valentine, Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 5)
A celestial class which serve as the medics of Heaven, Rit Zien are a type of angel which are drawn by negative emotions and which heal the repairable injured and kill the mortally wounded painlessly. (Heaven Can't Wait)
An elite unit of angels who uniquely wield angel swords, the grigori were originally created to protect humans, but went rogue and instead started feeding on humans' souls. They seem to be particularly strong angels. In modern times, most of the grigori have been wiped out, but a few still remain on Earth. (Angel Heart)
God originally created the archangels, the first and strongest angels, to aid him in beating back and imprisoning the Darkness. (Brother's Keeper) After the war against the Darkness, God created each and every one of the lesser angels, designing them to be perfect soldier beings with the purpose of acting as Heaven's warriors and the guardians of God's creations. (Sacrifice)
However, very few of God's angels other than the archangels have ever actually met him, receiving their orders and commands from their closer and further-down superiors on the celestial chain of command. (Heaven and Hell, On the Head of a Pin) The angels originally lived peacefully together in Heaven, (Swan Song) until when humanity dawned.
It is known that after humanity was created, the grigori were sent to Earth to protect them, becoming some of the first angels to ever walk the Earth, but instead began feeding on them, and were cast out and all but exterminated for this. (Angel Heart) After humanity's creation, the archangel Lucifer - jealous that humanity was now God's favourite creation over him and refusing to consider a flawed, primal race like humanity superior to him - began to increasingly rebel and turn on God and gather other angels to this cause, until eventually Lucifer was cast out of Heaven and imprisoned in a powerful mystical cage in Hell. It was prophesised that Lucifer would in the future escape his cage in Hell and bring on the Apocalypse and war against the angels and Heaven. (Season 4, Season 5)
Following Lucifer's rebellion and imprisonment, God had the angel Metatron write the Word of God and guard the tablets containing the Word. God afterwards left Heaven and went into hiding, and in his absence, the archangels took command over the angels and Heaven and kept the lower angels in the dark about God's departure. (Season 4, Season 5, Season 8) Over time, the archangels secretly schemed to take over the universe, forcing Metatron to flee from Heaven to Earth with the Word of God. (The Great Escapist) 2,000 years before the 21st century, the angels assigned at least one garrison to watch over the Earth in silence and solitude over the next two millennia, and for the following 2,000 years, direct contact among the angels with humans ceased. (Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester, Heaven and Hell, On the Head of a Pin)
The archangels secretly planned to ensure at all costs that the prophecy of the Apocalypse was fulfilled, in hopes that in the aftermath of the apocalyptic war between Heaven and Hell, the angels would have peace and Paradise. (Lucifer Rising, Sympathy for the Devil, Free to Be You and Me) Thus, the angels had a cupid bring John and Mary Winchester together so the two would conceive Sam and Dean Winchester as part of the Apocalyptic prophecy. (The Song Remains the Same)
In September 2008, when Dean unknowingly broke the first of Lucifer's seals binding Lucifer to his cage by torturing in Hell, angels were sent to rescue and resurrect Dean from Hell. (Season 4) With the first of Lucifer's seals broken and the other seals now breakable as a result, the archangels then initiated their secret plan to allow Lilith and her demons to break the other 65 seals so the Apocalypse could start, but the higher angels convinced the lower angels (who were unaware of the archangels' true intentions) that the angels were trying to stop Lucifer being released from Hell and the Apocalypse started, and sent lower angels to attempt to stop the other seals being broken as well. (Lucifer Rising)
Eventually, the last of Lucifer's seals was broken by Lilith's death, and Lucifer was released from his cage and the Apocalypse started. All the angels in Heaven apparently became aware at this time of the archangels' true intentions of a post-apocalyptic Paradise, but most of the angels seemed to support this goal and continued serving Heaven. (Lucifer Rising)
After the start of the Apocalypse, when Sam and Dean were discovered to be Lucifer and Michael's respective true vessels for the Apocalyptic war between Heaven and Hell but the brothers attempted to reject their destinies, the angels began attempting to get Dean to consent to angelic possession as Michael's vessel and to ensure Michael's battle with Lucifer would soon happen. (Season 5) However, the angels' intentions of allowing the Apocalypse to occur so they could have Paradise failed when Sam and Dean managed to trap both Michael and Lucifer in Lucifer's cage and avert the Apocalypse. (Swan Song)
Chaos of the post-ApocalypseEdit
After the aversion of the Apocalypse and Michael and Lucifer's imprisonment in Hell in 2010, the angels were left confused and leaderless without Michael and Heaven was sent into chaos and disarray. In the post-Apocalypse, two opposing factions of angels formed and warred over taking control of Heaven for their respective goals: the bigger faction, led by Raphael, wanted to free Michael and Lucifer to restart the Apocalypse, while the smaller faction, led by Castiel, opposed Raphael and intended to ensure the Apocalypse didn't happen. (Season 6) This civil war lasted for approximately two years or less, until Castiel wiped out Raphael and all his angel followers using the power of the monster souls from Purgatory. (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Meet the New Boss)
Afterwards, the angels and Heaven were apparently decimated and devastated further by Castiel's actions using the power of Purgatory's souls, (Season 7, 8) and by 2013, numerous warring and arguing orders and factions of angels had formed in Heaven. One of these angel factions was led by Naomi, and seemed to support the archangels' goal of angelic universal domination. (Clip Show, Sacrifice) In 2013, Metatron (with an unwitting Castiel's help) managed to perform a spell against the angels which banished every angel in Heaven to Earth and locked them out of Heaven. (Sacrifice)
After the FallEdit
After the Fall in which Metatron's spell locked all the angels out of Heaven, all the angels that didn't die from the Fall were left scattered around the Earth - shocked, scared, injured, disorganised and confused, and their powers weakened by the Fall. The fallen and scattered angels began seeking out and possessing vessels for themselves, but most were taking longer than some. Many of the angels also wanted brutal revenge on Castiel for his role in the Fall by helping Metatron with the spell. (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here)
Within a few weeks - months after the Fall, multiple conflicting factions began forming among the fallen angels on Earth. Initially, the two primary angel factions were Bartholomew's and Malachi's factions respectively, (Holy Terror) until Bartholomew was killed by Castiel (Captives) and Malachi was murdered by Gadreel. (King of the Damned) After Bartholomew's death, many of the angels began looking to and pressuring Castiel to lead them in the war to retake Heaven, and Cass eventually accepted and took up leadership of his own powerful angel army against Metatron; while Metatron and Gadreel began recruiting their own angel followers using the promise of returning to Heaven. (Meta Fiction, King of the Damned, Stairway to Heaven)
Return to HeavenEdit
During the war to retake Heaven, Castiel's angel army initially outnumbered Metatron's, until Metatron turned all of Cass's followers and the majority of the remaining fallen angels over to Metatron's faction by accusing Castiel of a series of angel suicide-bombings that Metatron had actually been behind. (Stairway to Heaven) Metatron also began returning his angel followers to Heaven. However, shortly after gaining control as 'the new God,' Metatron's rule over the angels and Heaven was ended when Metatron's Godlike strength was depowered by the destruction of the angel Word of God, and the angels in Heaven subsequently revolted against and imprisoned Metatron after he'd unwittingly revealed his true colours over angel radio to every angel in Heaven and on Earth. (Do You Believe in Miracles?)
In the aftermath of Metatron's downfall, most the angels had returned to Heaven, and were rebuilding Heaven and governing themselves without any dictator. A few rogue angels who hadn't returned to Heaven initially remained on Earth, (Black) but most of them were tracked down and returned by Castiel and Hannah. (Girls, Girls, Girls)
In an alternate future where the Apocalypse was not stopped in 2009 - 2010 and Lucifer and his demons had decimated humanity and taken the Earth with the Croatoan virus, at some point before 2014, the angels gave up on the Earth and completely left, abandoning the world to Lucifer. (The End)
Culture and hierarchyEdit
The original, pre-Apocalypse angelic hierarchy was extremely militant, authoritarian, strict, cold and ruthless; it punished rebellion, disobedience (Season 4, Season 5) and even lack of faith (Heaven and Hell) amongst subordinate angels with exile, torture, or death by literal 'firing.' Regular enough failure among the angels of Heaven could also be punished with demotion (On the Head of a Pin) and eventually exile and death by firing. (Point of No Return)
Emotions are highly discouraged among most angels, as the upper echelons of the Host of Heaven saw emotions as doorways to doubt. Angels are authoritarians, with subordinates being expected to follow their superiors' orders without question and not being permitted to display emotion either. (Season 4) However, not all angels are soldiers or warriors, as there are some cupid, secretarial and gardening groups and divisions among the celestial chain of command as well. (My Bloody Valentine, Dark Side of the Moon, The Great Escapist, Sacrifice)
Angels believe strongly in God as their father, although most angels have never met God, and the Host of Heaven were known to kill angels for lacking faith in God. (Heaven and Hell) Angels also consider themselves family to one-another, and refer to each-other as their brothers and sisters. (Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester onwards)
There are some cases in which angels who are rogue or meant to be punished, instead of being killed or imprisoned in Heaven's dungeon; are either simply banished and cut off from Heaven and left in exile (usually upon the Earth), or are imprisoned somewhere else away from Heaven. Angels can also be considered fallen for voluntarily choosing to leave Heaven and cease involvement in the Host's affairs.
The Host of Heaven are not usually tolerant of fallen angels. The archangels' regime over Heaven before the Apocalypse's derailment was known to mark rebellious angels who were cut off from Heaven for death, although it was a middle or low priority. (Abandon All Hope...) Even the new, non-dictatorship regime that was formed after Metatron's downfall, was unwilling to allow any rogue angels to remain on the Earth. (Black)
Almost all of angelkind were fallen for a time after the Fall, but the majority have since returned to Heaven. (Season 9)
Angels' relationship with God, their Creator, slightly varies amongst them. Most angels love and are loyal to God as their father and leader, despite never having actually met him, and intend to do what they can to carry out what they believe to be God's will and intentions. There are, however, a minority of angels who have lost faith in God and/or feel betrayed by God for loving humans more than angels.
Views of humans vary amongst angels, but most angels (due to their pride, age and power) look down on humans and see them as a flawed, monstrous species and/or as animals unworthy of angels' respect. However, not all angels look down on humans with this contempt and resentment: some angels are more civil and respectful with humans and remain true to God's last command that angels protect his most beloved creations. A few angels actually consider humans to be superior to angels due to humanity's free will and capacity for creativity and humans' efforts to do good. Religious humans look up to angels for holy guidance and as messengers of God, whereas other humans who have personally dealt with angels (such as hunters like the Winchester brothers) consider angels "dicks" for the smug and condescending attitude towards humans common among the angels.
In their relationship with other supernatural species that are aware of them, angels seem to believe themselves morally superior to supernatural races that can be considered unholy; and said other supernaturals in turn generally dislike angels and hold them in contempt for this self-righteousness and naïve worldview.
Pagan gods such as Kali and Odin saw angels as bullying and arrogant pushovers and as little more than a childish nuisance to them; but said gods also in this respect severely underestimated archangels like Lucifer. Lucifer himself despised what he saw in the pagan gods, considering them worse than humans and even demons for their petty, disloyal ways.
Angels and demons have a particularly great and well-known animosity, despising each-other by nature. Angels disgustedly view demons as filthy, sinful abominations. Likewise, demons strongly dislike angels as smug, fanatical and sanctimonious, but low-level demons also greatly fear angels for their power and strength against them.
Angels view Nephilim, their halfbreed spawn, with hate and disdain, considering them abominations and forbidding the creation of Nephilim. It was also implied that angels may attack and kill any Nephilim they encounter simply on principle.
The Four Horsemen seem to have a low opinion of angels; Famine called angels "dog[s]," and Death chastised Castiel as a "stupid little soldier" after he'd brought back the threat of the Leviathans by absorbing all the monsters of Purgatory in his crusade to stop Raphael.
Angels are found in various cultures' and religions' lore, including that of Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Islam. Angels are depicted in lore as ethereal holy spirits which assist and serve the religion's God and act as God's warriors and messengers. Though modern pop culture depicts angels as benevolent and loving creatures of God and protectors watching over people, the Christian Bible actually portrays angels as powerful and dreadful beings, endowed with wisdom, correct in their judgment, holy, but not infallible; angels may serve in Christian lore as messengers to humanity of either divine wrath and punishment or holy instructions and divine deeds.
- In Season 4 and 5, the angels appear as an intense, room-filling field of blinding white light when they manifest on Earth in their true forms. However, when they appear in their true forms on Earth in Season 9, the angels' true forms appear instead as streams of glowing, blue celestial energy. Also, in Season 9, even humans confirmed as not being potential vessels can now look directly at angels' natural forms on Earth, which they could not do in earlier seasons without looking at an angel's true form burning their eyeballs away. Some fans have assumed or theorised these changes to be due to the Fall at the end of Season 8 badly damaging and deteriorating the affected angels' true forms.
- In Stairway to Heaven, reapers were presented in a light which implied them to be angels, though many fans have responded with negativity or disagreement to this, arguing that it doesn't fit well or convincingly with previously-established reaper mythos.
- Though it was unconfirmed onscreen, there was a very popular and widespread fan theory that mid-level high-ranking angels such as Zachariah were in fact seraphim, and that seraphim are in the Supernatural universe a class of angel which rank above regular angels but below archangels. Castiel confirmed in Blood Brother in passing that seraphim are an existant angel class and that he is a seraph.
- Though angels' true forms are spiritual, multidimensional and incorporeal, it may be possible to pluck some parts from them and make them physical, seeing as the feather of an angel is among the ingredients for the time travel blood spell.