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"The human soul is not a rubber ball. It's vulnerable, impermanent, but stronger than you know. And more valuable than you can imagine!"
Death on souls' high value.[src]
Soul
9x17 SoulMain
Historical information
Creator : God
Use(s) : Spiritual essence of humans and monsters
Valuable supernatural energy source
Users : Humans
Monsters
Graceless angels
Affected creatures : Humans
Production information
A soul is the eternal spiritual essence of a human or monster, and one of the parts that naturally make up these creatures' being, another being the physical body. Souls are known for being extremely powerful energy sources amongst supernatural entities that know how to harness their power.

History and cycleEdit

It is believed that the soul was originally designed by God sometime after the Leviathan, (Meet the New Boss) most likely along with humanity. Though humans are the earliest known beings to possess souls, they are not the only ones, as the many different kinds of monsters created by Eve also possess souls. (Season 6, Season 8) It was implied by Metatron that angels, if and when they lose their grace and become mortal, will gain souls like humans have. (Sacrifice)

Though the soul is essentially a human or monster's spiritual essence, it is possible for their physical body to continue functioning without it in the unlikely event that the soul is separated from the still-living body. When this happens, the soulless body's psyche will retain the majority of the complete, souled person's psyche, emotions, intelligence, motivations and such, except there will be a total lack of instinctive and emotional empathy. (Season 6, Mother's Little Helper, Thin Lizzie)

According to Death, while the soul can sustain great and vicious damage and harm, it cannot ever be broken, not even by him. (Appointment in Samarra) Henry Winchester also indicated that a soul that has been damaged or drained of energy can repair or recharge itself over time. (As Time Goes By)

In the natural order, after a human or monster dies, their soul will remain extant following their physical death; and it will usually be transported, with the person's consciousness and who they were intact, to one of the afterlife realms. When a human dies or is dying, a reaper will come and try to get the deceased person's spirit to come with it to its afterlife destination.

If the deceased agrees to go with the reaper, the human's soul will be sent to either Heaven or Hell (depending on the person's actions in life, with mostly good souls going to Heaven, and sold or evil souls going to Hell). When a monster dies, its soul goes to Purgatory, where it hunts and is preyed upon among the other monsters there eternally. (Family Matters et al.) It is known that monster souls can be killed in Purgatory like living beings, and it is unknown what happens to them then. (Blood Brother et al.)

8x1 MonsterSoulResurrection

A deceased vampire's (Benny Lafitte's) soul, contained on Earth in Dean's blood, is released down onto his original body in a resurrection ritual. (We Need to Talk About Kevin)

If a deceased human's spirit turns down or can't go with its reaper, then it will remain on Earth as a ghost; and over the years, the spirit will mentally degrade away, eventually becoming little more than a wild, angry animal. One of the only ways to permanently vanquish a ghost is by destroying a source of its living self's DNA such as the bones, preserved hair or commonly-used objects from its life, to break the tether that metaphysically allows the ghost to stay tied to Earth. After a ghost is vanquished from the world of the living, a reaper can pick the ghost's soul up and transport it across the border to one of the spiritual realms. (Taxi Driver)

It is possible to resurrect a deceased human or monster by restoring and reanimating their body and reuniting their soul with it. The deceased subject's soul and at least most of their body's cell structure is required in virtually all cases to achieve resurrection. (Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid)

Other characteristicsEdit

Removal and containmentEdit

It is possible to separate a soul from its body; reapers do this naturally in the process of killing a human whose time is up and reaping their soul to take it to the afterlife, but it is also possible under rare circumstances to remove a person's soul and leave their body still alive. Transporting a living person from one realm over to another, if doing so calls for a lot of strain, power and effort, can apparently result in the person's soul being left behind while their body successfully crosses over alive, as was the case with Sam Winchester when Castiel brought him back from Lucifer's cage. (Family Matters, The Man Who Would Be King) There is also an unseen procedure, used by demons under Abaddon, for extracting living humans' souls and leaving their soulless bodies alive. (Mother's Little Helper)

When separated from their bodies, souls can be held or contained by certain physical or supernatural forces; horsemen such as Death and Famine possess supernatural briefcases capable of holding and sealing souls within, (My Bloody Valentine, Appointment in Samarra) powerful demons can restrain and transport souls, (Taxi Driver) and glass jars can be used to contain souls. (Mother's Little Helper) Powerful supernatural entities such as Death can also physically handle souls. (Appointment in Samarra)

If a soul that is on Earth but separated from its body is released, then the soul will pass on to its afterlife destination if its body is dead, (My Bloody Valentine, Taxi Driver) but if it's body is still alive then it will return to the soulless person and restore them to their souled self. (Mother's Little Helper) A soul can also be physically forced back into its living body by a being such as Death, although the process is excruciating for the then-soulless person. There is a particular spiritually-polluting dark spell which, if carried out by a soulless person, renders their soulless state irreversible. (Appointment in Samarra)

SoullessEdit

When a living human body and soul are separated, the resulting soulless person that is the body will retain almost all of what makes up the complete, souled version of theirself as well as most physical needs. However, one major difference is that in their soulless state, the person completely fundamentally lacks all emotional sense of empathy. This spiritual emotional void also extends to the person's love and passions.

A soulless person will also lack the physical need for sleep and be active 24/7 (though they can still be conventionally knocked out cold). Soulless people also possess less compunction against physical damage and harm; in the form of a higher pain tolerance, quicker cognitive recovery from physical and head trauma, and less hesitation to inflict self-harm than a souled person. (Season 6, Mother's Little Helper, Thin Lizzie)

It is apparent that each and every person has a different response to their soulless state. Some may be a danger to themselves, while others can continue functioning quite well in their soulless state:

  • Sam Winchester - Soulless Sam was much like his souled self, but with a noticeable slightly colder and steelier demeanour. Soulless Sam was essentially his souled self without any moral compass whatsoever: though he retained souled Sam's sense of purpose as a hunter, he was perfectly willing to instantly resort to amoral, ruthless and morally questionable actions without any real hesitation, being very mathematical about reaching his goal and about what he had to do to save more people in the bigger picture. Soulless Sam justified that he plainly and simply didn't "feel" anywhere inside him like souled people do when it comes to right and wrong and to what they love. though Soulless Sam initially behaved much like his souled self before realising what was wrong with him, once he did, his soullessness began to show more, displaying a tendency to be very open and blunt towards those around him of his negative emotions, thoughts and feelings. (Season 6)
  • Milton, Illinois victims - The multiple victims of Abaddon's soul-mining operations would generally calmly and casually physically lash out at people around them, including but not limited to their loved ones, over their souled self's pent-up negative feelings over the smallest things in their everyday lives. After a while, they would usually start self-harming and eventually kill themselves. (Mother's Little Helper)
    • Billy - This soulless victim in particular would verbally coldly snap about every little, irrational thing in his souled self's life to anyone who talked to him, then turn physically violent and almost murderous on this irrational annoyance. He also displayed bloodlust and justified his violence as simply being done because he could do it. (Mother's Little Helper)
  • Sydney - After being rendered soulless by Amara, Sydney displayed a highly twisted, sociopathic form of her souled self's sense of justice and feelings. Based upon her own bad background, Sydney acted out murderously against the two poor parents of the boy she was babysitting, and intended to kidnap the boy and ensure that she cared for him herself better than his parents had. She also worshipped Amara as a goddess for her effects on her, and in fact enjoyed and revelled in her soulless state compared to her dysfunctional souled self's troubledness. (Thin Lizzie)
  • Len Fletcher - This man retained a surprising deal of morality and normal human behaviour in his soulless state. Though he lacked both his emotional sense of empathy and his heart and passion, he otherwise acted very humanlike and like a souled person. He also retained an intellect-based sense of morality even without his emotional sense of conscience and empathy. (Thin Lizzie)

EffectsEdit

6x11 SamsDamagedSoul

Death holding Sam's mutilated soul after rescuing it from Hell. (Appointment in Samarra)

Damage to a soul can also affect the person's mentality; the severe abuse Sam's soul suffered at Michael and Lucifer's hands while it was in the cage left it so severely flayed and damaged that, after Death's mental wall protecting Sam's mind from the soul's damage came down, the damage to Sam's soul caused him to suffer severe and unpleasant memories and illusions of Hell and Lucifer, which drove Sam to the brink of insanity before the mental damage was removed. (Season 7)

It would appear that spiritual scarring and damage to the soul (or at least the psychological damage and effects this has on the person) can even transfer into or at least imprint in some form on the person's DNA; as when a Leviathan copied Sam Winchester's DNA to mimic him, it gained with Sam's form his 'cage-match scars' from his soul's abuse in Lucifer's cage. Although, unlike with Sam (who suffered severe and damaging illusions and mental torment from his soul's damage in Hell), the Leviathan copy was merely irritated by the cage-match scars. (Slash Fiction)

DemonsEdit

3x12 DemonsMassExorcism

Souls can become demons after centuries of corruption and mutilation in Hell. (Jus in Bello)

Demons are human souls that have become so immensely spiritually corrupted, twisted and altered that their humanity is burned out of them, leaving a dark, monstrous, inhuman creature of evil. (Malleus Maleficarum onwards) Souls commonly become demons through constant immense torture, corruption and damage in Hell over a long time, (Malleus Maleficarum onwards) although souls can alternatively be made into demons from living humans by the Mark of Cain. (Do You Believe in Miracles?)

It is possible to cure demons and restore their humanity via a complex ritual, which requires chaining the demon in its vessel on hallowed ground and injecting it hourly with purified blood. After the ritual has been completed, the demonised soul while he restored to its human state, and the vessel it was possessing will become its mortal body. (Clip Show, Soul Survivor)

UsesEdit

Souls apparently each possess a powerful and valuable amount of supernatural energy, which many spiritual races and beings are capable of using for power. (Season 6) Though the amount of power a soul has can be siphoned off, it is apparently renewable, as Henry Winchester claimed that after he'd used his own soul's power in a spell, given a week or longer, his soul would recharge its energy. In this case, the soul's temporary depowered state after its energy was siphoned caused the soul's host person to initially suffer weakness, vomiting and nosebleeds before quickly recovering. It was implied that if the soul's power was siphoned again before it had fully recharged, it could kill the person. (As Time Goes By)

3x14 SoulDevouredCrocotta

A crocotta devours its victim's soul. (Long Distance Call)

Balthazar and Eve likened the power and value that souls offer to spiritual beings to the immense energy and power source that nuclear fusion offers humans. (Mommy Dearest, Let It Bleed) According to Eve, just one soul's amount of power would be equivalent to a nuclear reactor, and all 30-40 million monster souls in Purgatory would together match the power of the sun. (Mommy Dearest) While the soul is a very great power source among those who know how to siphon and use its power, according to Balthazar, using and siphoning a very large number of souls as a power source this way (such as when Castiel intended to absorb all of Purgatory's monster souls to use their power to stop Raphael) is apparently highly volatile and dangerous, as there is a risk of the process "go[ing] Chernobyl." Balthazar stated that were Castiel to lose control over the power of Purgatory's souls this way after gaining them, the nuclear-esque disaster would have been enough to destroy a large chunk of the entire Earth. (Let It Bleed)

Hell, as well as using the human souls sent to there in death to make into new demons, apparently also uses souls as a power source; after becoming King of Hell, Crowley planned to take the monster souls in Purgatory as a power source for Hell, (Family Matters, The Man Who Would Be King) and Eve indicated that Hell losing its steady supply of souls from Earth would have been disastrous for Crowley and would have caused Hell something of a supernatural blackout. (Mommy Dearest)

Angels can also directly use and siphon souls for strength and power; Castiel could recuperate some of his strength when wounded, by directly siphoning power from Bobby Singer's soul (through a soul-detecting process in which an angel scans and reads a human's soul by reaching into the human's vessel to it), and Cass could also increase his own strength and power by absorbing souls and using their power to strengthen and fuel himself. (The Man Who Would Be King, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Meet the New Boss) However, this process is very delicate, as the slightest slip-up on the angel's part can cause the human whose soul it is being performed on to explode. (Frontierland, The Vessel)

While angels can strengthen by absorbing souls for their power, absorbing a massive number of souls can apparently be damaging to the angel due to the souls' weight; after Castiel absorbed all the souls in Purgatory along with the Leviathans, his vessel began to corrode and combust and the weight threatened to destroy him. (Meet the New Boss)

9x17 SoulsExtracted+Stored

Several extracted souls stored by demons. (Mother's Little Helper)

As well as beings that can absorb souls and/or siphon power off them, there have also been some examples of supernatural creatures which feed on souls and strengthen themselves through them by devouring souls. Famine consumed his victims' souls to gain his strength, (My Bloody Valentine) crocottas naturally feed on and devour the souls of their victims after killing them, (Long Distance Call) and Amara consumes souls (not just human but also demon, among naturally-soulless entities' essences) and assimilates them into herself, both to grow stronger and to make said souls a part of her. (Season 11)

Shtriga suck and feed on humans' Spiritus vitae (their soul's life force). (Something Wicked) Also, Soul Eaters take victims' souls into their interdimensional nests to feed on forever there (though the souls will be freed if the Soul Eater is killed). Unlike with Amara and most other processes that remove a soul but leave the body still alive, the Soul Eater's process leaves the human body in a coma to slowly die away, similarly to how a shtriga's victims is affected by having their Spiritus vitae sucked away. (Safe House)

Though a very little-known-of technique, it is apparently possible for a human to learn how to tap into and siphon the power of their own soul; the Men of Letters were the only known humans who knew this technique, and it was implied by Henry that the technique (or at least that the technique was possible) was common knowledge among the Men of Letters. (As Time Goes By)

DetectionEdit

Several supernatural entities and beings can recognise a soul and/or its current state and whether or not a person's soul is there. Fairies can tell with one look at a soulless person that their soul is missing, (Clap Your Hands If You Believe...) and the Alpha Vampire can also distinguish soulless individuals from normal, souled people by their scent (mentioning that soulless people's scent is unusually cold). (Family Matters) Famine could scan a soul, and through this assess a person's emotional state and condition; Famine seemed to achieve this by placing his hand to a person's chest and psychically reaching into a person to see their soul, although it appeared to be painful for the subject person. (My Bloody Valentine)

6x3 SoulScannedAngel

An angel reaching into a person to scan and read their soul. (The Third Man)

Angels can scan a human's soul and assess its state and condition (and, if the person has sold their soul in a deal, who has the contract for the soul once the person's time is up), through a process in which the angel phases with its vessel's hand into the person's body and reaches inside for the soul. Though the process only takes a few seconds for the angel to reach the soul and read its state, and it causes minimal physical damage to the person, for the human it is excruciatingly painful, and can even cause psychological damage in subject children. (The Third Man, Family Matters, Frontierland)

LoreEdit

In many religions, mythologies, philosophies and even psychologies, the soul is the incorporeal and often immortal essence of a person or living thing. The Abrahamic religions teach that souls belong only to humans; but some branches believe that some other if not all living things have souls, though only humans' souls are immortal and survive beyond physical death. Some other religions such as Hinduism and Jainism teach that all life and organisms possess souls, and in some cases that even non-biological miscellanea such as rivers and mountains have souls.

Notable appearancesEdit

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