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- "Archangels are fierce. They're absolute. They're Heaven's most terrifying weapon!"
- ―Castiel on archangels' reputation among the Host of Heaven.[src]
|Type :||Spirit (Angel)|
|Notable distinctions :||Immense celestial power superior to other angels'|
Causes destructive elemental storms and weather patterns
|Main weaknesses :|| Archangel blade|
|Related to :||God|
|Culture(s) of origin :||Christianity|
|Native range :|| Heaven|
|First appearance :||Tall Tales (chronologically)|
The Monster at the End of This Book
After Lucifer's infamous rebellion and imprisonment and God's following departure, Gabriel went into hiding amongst the pagan gods, whilst Michael and Raphael continued running Heaven and schemed to take over the universe as a weak substitute for losing their Father. After the Apocalypse failed, the archangels' reign fell. Currently, Gabriel and Raphael are believed dead, and Michael remains trapped in Lucifer's cage while Lucifer has escaped.
Archangels are the earliest and most powerful angels created. They are far, far superior in power to all lesser angels, and all demons and most other supernatural beings, being amongst the most powerful entities in the universe. Although God, Death and the Darkness are all much stronger than them, with the archangels being children compared to Death and with the Darkness being capable of easily overpowering one of them. (Abandon All Hope..., Hell's Angel) It seems that each archangel is more powerful than the last in ascending order of age: for major examples, Gabriel was seemingly not strong enough to overpower nearly a dozen pagan gods while Lucifer managed this easily, (Hammer of the Gods) and most angels were fully convinced that Michael would inevitably win in a death-match with Lucifer. (Lucifer Rising, Season 5)
Archangels' greater immensity and power compared to other angels is apparent in the effects of their true forms when they manifest without vessels on the material plane, with the effects of archangels' true forms on Earth being more destructively intense. When Michael and Raphael respectively manifested in their true forms, they caused violent tremors to shake the entire building where they were manifesting; and the sight of Michael's true visage not only burned out the eyes of, but actually utterly killed, the human patrons. (The Monster at the End of This Book, Lucifer Rising, Point of No Return)
Also, archangels' immense power can have an elemental impact when they are present on Earth: Raphael caused a blackout across the entire Eastern Seabord when he manifested, (Free to Be You and Me) and Lucifer's presence on Earth over the Apocalypse caused worldwide weather chaos and other natural disasters.
Like other angels, archangels too need to possess a consenting human vessel to have corporeal form on the Earth. But because of arcangels' greater power and immensity compared to other angels, there are even fewer suitable vessels for containing an archangel than there are for lesser angels. When Lucifer possessed Nick, he had to consume gallons of demon blood to keep him from exploding under the pressure of containing him, and Nick's body still began to wear and burn away over the months. For the two oldest and strongest archangels, Michael and Lucifer, there is only one bloodline of humans strong enough to serve as permanent and functional vessels for either of them: the Winchester family's, descended from Cain and Abel; and even then, each only had one "true vessel" out of this entire bloodline, in whom they would be at their fullest capabilities on Earth. (Season 5)
Also, unlike with possession by regular-tier angels, containing an archangel can be psychologically-damaging for the vessel: Raphael's vessel, Donnie Finnerman, was left in a drooling, catatonic state after Raphael initially disinhabited him. (Free to Be You and Me) However, Michael indicated that this detrimental effect on the host can be voluntarily avoided if the archangel in question is anything less than callous and negligent upon leaving: he was able to possess John Winchester and leave no long-term side-effects on John upon leaving him. (The Song Remains the Same)
Archangels seem to possess an obscure but powerful level of cosmic prescience: Lucifer correctly predicted that Sam would say yes to him in Detroit within six months. (Abandon All Hope..., Swan Song) It would also seem that archangels have much more sharp sensitivity to and perception of supernatural activity than other angels; as Michael and/or Lucifer apparently immediately sensed from within Lucifer's cage when the Darkness came free, (Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire) whereas the other angels in Heaven had only known from Heaven's oldest and most ancient alarms going off. (Form and Void)
Archangels also, being powerful celestials, possess the abilities and weaknesses inherent in all angels, but to a much more powerful level. Archangels are strong enough to easily overpower low-level angels, be it psychokinetically, physically or in combat; and they can casually banish or destroy such regular angels on a whim without much attention. The archangels can manipulate reality to an extent as well, and shift their own vessels' appearance; Gabriel in particular revelled in and was mastered with this ability, creating things out of thin air and dissipating them again as part of his will, and Lucifer who taught him all his tricks also used some of them himself.
However, as immensely powerful as archangels are, they still possess some of the weaknesses as well as powers, inherent in all angels; although archangels may be much more resistant to most of them than lesser angels are. Holy fire, and other angel-warding, can be used to trap and contain an archangel; although in Lucifer's case it would only work temporarily before he overcame it. (O Brother Where Art Thou?, Hell's Angel) Likewise, when holy fire was used to attack and burn Michael, it couldn't kill him, but it could still agonise him and temporarily banish him. (Swan Song) The fact that Raphael and Gabriel both seemed to fear remaining trapped within a ring of holy fire indefinitely would suggest that it is even more effective on the two younger archangels. (Free to Be You and Me, Changing Channels)
An archangel blade such as that carried by Gabriel can kill archangels, (Hammer of the Gods) and it has also been implied that regular angel blades are at least harmful and dangerous to archangels. It is also thought that a blast of God's power such as that obtainable from a Hand of God can kill an archangel, (Beyond the Mat) and it is known that the Darkness is capable of easily torturing and probably even killing archangels. (Hell's Angel) It was also demonstrated by Castiel when he absorbed all the monster souls and Leviathans in Purgatory that an angel empowered to such an unimaginable extent as this can easily and casually kill an archangel like Raphael. (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
The power of the weapons of Heaven of Heaven could at least threaten an archangel like Raphael into backing off and fleeing. (The French Mistake) One of the weapons, Lot's Stone, could destroy an archangel's vessel, reducing it to salt, although the archangel itself would survive. (The Third Man)
Some but not all of the methods of deterring, binding or hiding from most angels can also be used to the same purpose when archangels are concerned. While hexbags wouldn't have been enough to cloak one from an archangel like Lucifer, (Sympathy for the Devil) the Enochian warding that Castiel carved into Sam and Dean's ribs kept them hidden from all angels including Michael and Lucifer. (Season 5) Also, Kali's binding blood spell was at least effective on the youngest archangel Gabriel. (Hammer of the Gods)
At some point after the creation of the Leviathan and the beasts' subsequent imprisonment in Purgatory, (Meet the New Boss) the archangels were created by God as his first and most fierce and powerful angels. It is believed that God created them in this order: Michael, Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel; (Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 5) although the Darkness has called Lucifer "God's first son." (Hell's Angel)
When God decided, apparently with Lucifer's support, (Hell's Angel) to beat back and imprison the Darkness for the safety of his future creation, he and the archangels waged a long, terrible war against her. Ultimately, at the end of the war, God created a Mark that would keep the Darkness imprisoned, and gave the mark to Lucifer. (Brother's Keeper)
After God created the other, lower angels, the archangels served in Heaven as the generals, and sent God's and their own commands to Heaven's 'senior management' of lesser high-ranking angels, to order and instruct the low-tier angels. Unlike the other angels, the archangels personally met, knew and interacted with their Father.
When God created humans and declared them to be superior creations to angels, while Michael, Gabriel and Raphael apparently bowed to humanity, Lucifer refused and, partly influenced by the Mark's corruption, grew increasingly angry and jealous. (The End, Brother's Keeper) As Lucifer's jealousy and disobedience worsened and eventually got out of control, he was cast out of Heaven. He afterwards began corrupting humans; infamously tempting Adam and Eve with the Forbidden Fruit and mutilating humans' souls to create the first demons, (When the Levee Breaks) and even passing his Mark on to Cain to create an uber-demon. (First Born, Do You Believe in Miracles?, Brother's Keeper) As punishment for what he was doing and the threat he posed to humanity, Lucifer was locked away by Michael in a sealed, impregnable cage in Hell on God's orders. (The End) Meanwhile, during the period of Lucifer's rebellion, Gabriel had become unable to take the squabbling amongst his family, and ran away from Heaven into hiding on Earth among the pagan gods, posing as a trickster. (Changing Channels)
Following Lucifer's rebellion and imprisonment, God left Heaven and disappeared into hiding, and in his absence, Michael and Raphael took over Heaven; Michael commanded the angels as viceroy of Heaven, and Raphael supported Michael and continued his own duties as an archangel by protecting prophets. According to Metatron, the archangels initially wailed and despaired over God's disappearance, but then they eventually began to scheme to take over the universe for themselves. The archangels attempted to have Heaven's intelligence division brainwash Metatron to their ways so they could, through him, use the Word of God's power for angelic universal domination. However, before the archangels could get to him, Metatron fled into hiding on Earth and the Word was also hidden. (The Great Escapist)
Plan to bring the ApocalypseEdit
By the 20th - 21st century, the archangels were secretly plotting to fulfil the prophecy of the Apocalypse and free Lucifer from the cage, so that Michael could kill Lucifer and bring Paradise to Earth afterwards; however, the apocalyptic battle between Michael and Lucifer would destroy half the Earth and kill millions of humans in the process. (Lucifer Rising, Season 5) The archangels' plan to bring the Apocalypse was set in motion in 2008, when Dean Winchester unwittingly broke the first of Lucifer's seals, allowing Lilith and the demons to begin breaking the other seals. (Season 4) The archangels initially deceived the lower angels with the belief that they aimed to stop the seals breaking and Lucifer rising (so as to avoid rebellion from any angels who disagreed with this, until It would be too late). The Apocalypse was successfully started after 65 seals were broken, when Sam Winchester broke the final seal by killing Lilith; freeing Lucifer from the cage and allowing him to rise back to Earth. (Lucifer Rising)
Following Lucifer's return to Earth and the start of the Apocalypse, Michael and the Host of Heaven actively tried to force Dean to consent to possession and become Michael's true vessel for the Apocalypse, while Lucifer and the demons sought for Sam to let Lucifer in and become Lucifer's true vessel for the battle. However, both brothers rejected their respective destinies and warded themselves from detection, postponing Michael and Lucifer's battle and the archangels' plans. While Sam and Dean fruitlessly searched for a means of killing Lucifer to derail the Apocalypse, Lucifer and his demons and servants began attacking and plaguing humankind with apocalyptic natural disasters. (Season 5) Eventually, after centuries in hiding as the trickster, following words from Dean, Gabriel emerged from his hiding and tried to kill Lucifer to stop the Apocalypse, but Lucifer outwitted his younger brother and seemingly killed Gabriel with the latter's own archangel's blade. However, before his death, Gabriel gave Sam and Dean a message revealing that they could derail the Apocalypse by collecting the Four Horsemen's rings to reimprison Lucifer in the cage. (Hammer of the Gods)
Michael at one point came very close to taking Dean as his vessel for the battle with Lucifer, but Dean defied and escaped Michael again, (Point of No Return) and Michael subsequently gave up on possessing Dean and possessed Adam Milligan as a substitute vessel instead. (Swan Song) A short time afterwards, Lucifer successfully possessed Sam as his true vessel, and Michael and Lucifer subsequently went to begin the apocalyptic battle. However, just before the battle could begin, the battle and the Apocalypse was derailed and the archangels' plans for the Apocalypse and Paradise were ruined when Sam took back control long enough to trap himself, Michael and Lucifer in Lucifer's cage. (Swan Song)
Michael and Lucifer remained trapped in the cage with Adam (and initially with Sam's soul, which they tortured and abused over their imprisonment). Shortly after the Apocalypse was stopped, Raphael sought to take control of post-Apocalypse Heaven and free Michael and Lucifer to restart the Apocalypse, and so entered a civil war in Heaven with an opposition led by Castiel. (Season 6) The civil war lasted over a year and a half, until Raphael was destroyed by Castiel with the power of all of Purgatory's souls, fully ending the archangels' reign. (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Although Gabriel was believed to have been killed by Lucifer, he later returned as part of a dream illusion Metatron placed Castiel in; though it was not made clear whether it was the real Gabriel and therefore Gabriel was alive, or just a part of the dream world. (Meta Fiction)
The Darkness's returnEdit
When the Darkness was released in 2015 by the Mark of Cain's removal, Michael and/or Lucifer sensed it from within the cage, and one of them started screaming out to Hell in terror to try and get some warning out. (Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire)
In lore, mostly that of the Abrahamic religions, an archangel is an angel of high rank. Michael, Gabriel and sometimes Raphael are widely recognised as archangels by Islam, Judaism and most Christianity, and Lucifer is considered an evil archangel who has fallen from grace. Some branches of the faiths believe that there are seven archangels - although the names of the other four archangels aside from Michael, Raphael and Gabriel vary, they commonly include Uriel.
- Tall Tales
- Mystery Spot
- The Monster at the End of This Book
- Lucifer Rising
- Sympathy for the Devil
- Free to Be You and Me
- The End
- Changing Channels
- Abandon All Hope...
- The Song Remains the Same
- Point of No Return
- Hammer of the Gods
- Swan Song
- The Third Man
- The French Mistake
- The Man Who Would Be King
- The Man Who Knew Too Much
- Meta Fiction (possibly illusion)
- O Brother Where Art Thou?
- The Devil in the Details
- Into the Mystic
- The Vessel
- Beyond the Mat
- Hell's Angel
- In A Little Slice of Kevin, the Word of God about demons described Metatron as being an archangel; however, in The Great Escapist, Metatron confirmed he wasn't an archangel and was a regular-tier angel positioned high up as Scribe of God.
- Though only four archangels are known to have existed in Supernatural, in some real-life religious teachings, there are seven archangels, and thus some viewers have suggested there may be other archangels aside from the four shown. However, a few fans believe that the fact Metatron only mentioned Michael, Gabriel, Lucifer and Raphael in The Great Escapist when fearing the archangels had found him would imply that these four are the only archangels in Supernatural.