Sam: The thing is, with the old gods, once upon a time they were – they were just short of invincible. But they got a lot of their mojo from worshipers, from people feeding them.
Jody Mills: These days, not so much.
Sam: Right, they're not what they used to be. But they make up for lack of power with being twice as pissed and a lot more hands-on.

Deities - better known as pagan gods, or more accurately, The Old Gods - are a race of immortal supernatural entities, with each being a prime authority in the religion or pantheon that they established or belonged to. Despite having a role in the human ancient religions and possessing free will, the plurality of them are cruel, petty, uncaring, and only concerned with themselves and their survival. Some of them are neutral or indifferent to humans, and a handful of them have even been shown to be acting in accordance to the well being of humanity (like Prometheus), but most who appeared so far were evil. Many of them were known to have a taste for human flesh and were confirmed to use humans as a food source, as well as accepting offerings like virgin sacrifices. 

Pagan deities are also one of the most recurring supernatural creatures in Supernatural.

History

At various points in time, or possibly simultaneously, the pagan gods started to appear, with their exact origins yet to be revealed. Over time, they formed their own collective pantheons and religions amongst the humans, which attracted many followers across the Earth. These deities were worshipped for centuries, and in some cases, millennia. Through the tributes they received, the deities became immensely powerful, as Sam once described them as being "just short of invincible" at their prime days.

However, the majority of them lost at least a significant portion of their followers when the Abrahamic faiths arrived. Thus, the deities were left without worshippers, forcing them to rely on taking sacrifices by themselves, which significantly weakened many of them. Nowadays, most pagan deities are scattered across the world and surviving underground or in disguise, either by single worshippers and minor cults (like Moloch, Vesta and Fenrir), or by simply murdering people to feed themselves and increase their powers (Veritas, Calliope and Chronos).

It is yet to be stated how the pagan gods came into being, as the only sources on that matter seem to be each deity's own lore and mythology.

The only known facts about their origins are that many are as old as the oldest civilizations of mankind, like Anansi, Osiris and Cacao, and there have been multiple generations of gods sired by other gods, like Artemis (fathered by Zeus), Loki (fathered by Odin), and Oliver (a very recent example, fathered by Prometheus with a mortal woman). According to Kali, there are "billions" of pagan deities.

Outside these facts, it is unknown even if deities have a soul, as, like their origins, it is also never stated to where do deities go after they die, as they are neither monsters (who go to Purgatory) nor angels or demons (who go to the Empty after their deaths).

Despite numerous deities appearing in Supernatural, the most predominant deity in the show is the one that serves as the center icon of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), who is referred to simply as God, whose nigh-infinite power is independent of his worshipers, a trait that his sister, the Darkness, and his children, the Archangels, also hold.

Characteristics

Westerners, I swear. The sheer arrogance. You think you're the only ones on Earth? You pillage and you butcher in your god's name... but you're not the only religion, and he's not the only god. And now you think you can just rip the planet apart? You're wrong. There are billions of us, and we were here first. If anyone deserves to end this world, it's me.
Kali to Gabriel upon learning of his identity as an Archangel
Pagan deities often masquerade as normal humans. However, many of them have true forms that are more monstrous than human, similar to angels and demons. Madge and Edward Carrigan's true faces were akin to decomposing or demonic faces. Kali's true form had blue skin, fangs, and multiple pairs of arms and hands. Some deities possess animalistic features. Veritas had a feline true form. Ganesh had the ability to turn completely into an elephant and had the head of an elephant in his true form. Still, other deities take on shapes other than beastly or humanoid forms, and others may don't even bother or need to hide their true appearance. The Vanir that Sam and Dean encountered was possessing an inanimate object in the form of a scarecrow, and was residing in or may have been his actual sacred tree, and Moloch kept his monstrous, goat-headed real form as he was already being hidden by the Bishop Family.

As pagan deities, they are mighty beings with many magical powers, but there are numerous differences between them, which go from their age to their abilities. They may also hold differing stances on certain events, and they may be sectarian and be against other beliefs and religions, including rebelling against their own pantheon's beliefs like Prometheus, who defied Zeus and became persona non grata among the Greek gods. Many of them are arrogant and tyrannical, and see themselves as all-powerful supreme beings.

The majority of them also look down on humans, seeing them as only food, subjects, entertainment or sacrifices to boost their magical powers (like Chronos' time travel ability). Some even openly attack humans simply for their own amusement and have shown sadistic pleasure in harming, torturing, and killing humans (like Osiris and Zeus). Besides Prometheus, no deity so far has ever shown any opposition to harming, killing or manipulating humans.

Many deities have preferences for virgins, as was the case with Vesta, Mr. Vili, and some of the deities that convened with Kali.

They also don't hold much loyalty to each other (except for perhaps other deities from the same pantheon) and seem to have as much hostility toward each other as they do with humans. Normally, a deity's main interest is looking after themselves, and some have been known to betray other deities as soon as they received a better offer. Because of a trivial grudge against Kali, Mercury called up Lucifer and tried to sell the Winchesters and the other deities at the Elysian Fields Hotel in exchange for mercy, but Lucifer outwardly shows his profound disgust for pagan gods, pointing their hubris and their total lack of loyalty to one another, calling them petty and worse than humans or demons. Lucifer then snaps Mercury's neck, killing him and almost every other deity in the hotel with ease. Likewise, Baldur congratulates many deities for being able to put aside their differences when they meet to discuss the Apocalypse.

Another important thing for deities is to carry out rituals and ceremonies, and many of them continue to follow pre-set ones, regardless of the number of worshippers they have left. Edward and Madge Carrigan followed a strict sacrificial ritual before killing their victims, and Cacao only granted his immortality power to those who performed his ancient Mayan ritual first.

While talking about the Norse pantheon, Gabriel stated that they were unique and called them "god-begotten monsters" and "demigods" though he ditched the latter title when explaining what he meant to the Winchesters.

Oddly enough, not all deities live as pagans forever, and some end up serving God's plans to mankind. Atropos said that she and her sisters, the Fates, were given their jobs by God, and Oblivion was tasked by Heaven to erase memories of specific humans who have seen anything related to the supernatural and the Apocalypse.

Known Deities

  • African
  • Aztec
  • Babylonian
    • Tiamat, serpent-goddess of chaos (mentioned only, unknown),
  • Canaanite
    • Moloch, god of sacrifice and prosperity (deceased)
  • Chinese
    • Zao Shen, god of kitchen and abundance (deceased)
  • Egyptian
    • Isis, goddess of magic (deceased)
    • Osiris, god of the dead and judgment (incapacitated)
  • Greek
    • Ares (mentioned only, unknown)
    • Artemis, goddess of hunt and wildlife
    • Atropos, one of the three Fates (as a Sister of Fate)
    • Calliope, goddess of epics (deceased)
    • Chronos, god of time (deceased)
    • Clotho, one of the three Fates (as a Sister of Fate, mentioned only)
    • Harmonia (mentioned only, unknown)
    • Hesperus (mentioned only, unknown)
    • Lachesis, one of the three Fates (as a Sister of Fate, mentioned only)
    • Oblivion, goddess of memory (deceased, tie-in books only)
    • Oliver, son of Prometheus with a mortal woman (possible demi-god, due to being the son of a Titan)
    • Paeon (newly-created deity, tie-in Novels only, deceased)
    • Pan, satyr-god of frenzy and wildlife (mentioned only, unknown)
    • Plutus, god of greed (deceased)
    • Prometheus, "proto-god" (Titan) (deceased)
    • Zeus, god of the sky and thunder (deceased)
  • Haitian Voodoo
  • Hindu
    • Ganesh, god of new beginnings and wisdom (deceased)
    • Kali, goddess of time, creation, destruction and power
  • Japanese
    • Bimbogami (anime only)
  • Mayan
    • Cacao, god of maize (mentioned only)
  • Norse
    • Baldur, god of light and purity (deceased)
    • Fenrir, god of wolves and Werewolves (deceased)
    • Hel, goddess of the dead (tie-in Novels only)
    • Jörmungandr (mentioned only)
    • Loki, trickster god (deceased)
    • Narfi (deceased)
    • Odin, god of wisdom, healing, and royalty (deceased)
    • Sleipnir (deceased)
    • Thor, god of thunder (unknown)
    • Vanir (deceased)
    • Vili (deceased)
  • Roman
    • Janus (tie-in books only)
    • Mercury, god of thieves and commerce (deceased)
    • Veritas, goddess of truth (deceased)
    • Vesta goddess of the hearth (deceased)
  • Romani
    • Devla, king of the Romani gods (mentioned only)
  • Slavic
    • Leshi, god of forests (deceased)
  • Teutonic
  • Unknown
    • Adamantine (newly-created deity, tie in Novels only, originally a material in mythology, deceased)
    • Armament, god of war (newly-created deity, tie in Novels only, deceased)
    • Beau, right-hand of the god Plutus (deceased)
    • Blight, god of disease (newly-created deity, tie in Novels only, deceased)
    • Flare Goddess of fire (newly-created deity, tie in Novels only, deceased)
    • Karrion, god of death (newly-created deity, tie in Novels only, deceased)
    • Lord of the Hunt (tie-in Novels only, deceased)
    • Masque, god of illusion (newly-created deity, tie in Novels only, deceased)
  • Alternate reality
    • Glythur, sovereign god of his universe, along with his mate
    • Yokoth, sovereign goddess of her universe, along with her mate

Beings considered deities

Aside from the commonly known pagan deities, there are beings that have or have had statuses, abilities and/or titles similar to those of deities:

Powers and Abilities

As pagan deities, they are quite powerful, and some of them are powerful enough to be classified as higher beings. Unlike demons, angels, and all other supernatural species, the abilities of the deities vary between each other. Normally, it depends on each type of deity and how old and powerful they are. They also gain power through sacrifices, particularly blood and human sacrifices.

While each deity has unique magical powers, they do share certain powers and attributes. It is certain that they (or at least most of them) are more powerful than monsters, spirits and (at least most) demons. Some deities even possess powers beyond angels'.

Due to these variations, the following list is split into standard powers which they all have, similar powers, which some have, and unique powers:

Standard powers

  • Immortality - As pagan deities, they can live forever as they are immune to aging and disease. Many have been around for centuries or even millennia.
  • Invulnerability - They are unharmed by conventional weaponry, and are immune to pain, common physical ailments, and disease. They can, however, be harmed and killed by stronger beings, including other stronger deities. Divine weaponry, i.e. weapons belonging to (and presumably made by) other pagan deities (like Thor's hammer and Artemis' blade) also seem to be effective against them to some extent. According to Sam, while they were still being worshiped, they were almost invincible. Despite having lost most of their worshippers, however, they are still almost indestructible.
  • Super strength - They are exceedingly strong, with even the weakest deities being able to casually overpower, maul, and lift full-grown humans.
  • Super stamina - Deities never tire regardless of what they go through.
  • Magic - Deities possess incredible magical powers and knowledge, with some being truly god-like. A deity's powers depend on the type of deity it is.

Similar Powers

  • Super Speed - Some deities, such as Leshi, Osiris, and most notably, Mercury, can move at incredible speeds.
  • Telekinesis - The ability to move objects with the power of the mind. Many deities possess this power, such as Kali, Osiris, Leshi, Beau, Veritas, Artemis and Zeus.
  • Telepathy - Many deities possess the power to read the thoughts of other beings in a variety of degrees. Leshi used this to learn whom their victims' idolized, and Osiris could feel if a person felt guilty for something just by looking at them.
  • Super Senses - Some deities, such as Leshi and Osiris, possess superhuman senses that enabled them to reflect blows and feel the presence of others, even if they are hidden.
  • Teleportation - Some of the older and more powerful deities have this power. Kali, Baldur, Osiris, Atropos, Plutus, Chronos, and Artemis have all displayed this ability.
  • Biokinesis - The ability to control a person's body, either through harm or transfiguration. Kali has been shown capable of using this power against another deity (Mercury), making him choke in his own blood. Zeus was able to strangle a person with a twist of his wrist and casually tortured Prometheus from a distance. Also, Harmonia, the mother of the original Amazons, transform them into supernatural creatures in the point to prevent them from extinction.
  • Chronokinesis - The power to manipulate time. Atropos and her sisters were able to stop time and selectively manipulate its flow. Along with her prediction of events, she uses this to assist herself in manipulating events to bring about people's deaths and fates. Chronos was able to travel through time and bring others with him. He could also manipulate the flow of time and have prescience of future events. Another type of time manipulation is the creation of time loops (where the victim will keep repeating events over and over again). This will last until the one responsible is killed or lets them out; otherwise, the time loop will not stop. Gabriel displayed this power while acting under the alias of a Trickster, however, it's unknown whether Tricksters possess the ability to create time loops as well.
  • Spell Casting - Several deities have shown the capability of casting spells and performing magic. Madge and Edward Carrigan performed rituals for their tributes. Kali's blood magic was called a blood spell by Gabriel, and Plutus had cast warding spells on his location to prevent even powerful beings like the King of Hell and angels from directly harming him.
  • Cosmic Awareness - While not a power per se, many deities have greater knowledge about mankind and the universe than other supernatural beings. Many deities, such as Atropos, Odin, Baldur, Kali, Ganesh, Chronos, Baron Samedi, and Mercury have access to incredible knowledge of events and people that many other beings have not the power to.
  • Shapeshifting - As a positive side effect of their reality warping powers, tricksters also develop amazing shapeshifting abilities. Leshi has the power to change his appearance completely, and Veritas and Ganesh also had this power to a limited degree, being able to turn themselves into a specific animal (an elephant, in the case of Ganesh) or anthropozoomorphic being (a cat-like humanoid, in the case of Veritas).
  • Possession - Vanir is able to possess the scarecrow at will, leaving or entering, depending on his will.
  • Conjuration - The power to create or to uncreate something or someone from nothing. Tricksters are known to have this ability. Calliope could manifest creatures based on plays to protect the director.
  • Reality Warping - The power to change the laws of reality and to create new laws or realities entirely. Tricksters have this power. Mercury also showed this ability, able to change the Elysian Hotel from a broken down joint into a five-star hotel. Moloch granted the wishes of Bishop Family once they fed him with blood.
  • Influence Over Vegetation - The ability to have some influence over plants and vegetation such as returning dead plants to life. Mercury may have this ability, or at least his presence induces the same effect. The Vanir were able to make harvests more bountiful.
  • Weather Manipulation - Some of the deities could control the weather, such as preventing a harsh winter, or by providing a climate well-suited for planting and harvesting. Madge and Edward Carrigan have this ability. The Vanir has displayed this ability and was shown to unleash heavy rain when angered. Zeus and Thor (as well as the latter's hammer) could manipulate thunderbolts. A group of deities was able to lure Sam and Dean to them by creating an enormous storm. 
  • Pyrokinesis - The ability to manipulate and generate fire by sheer will alone. Kali and Vesta both possess this power and been have shown using it at advanced levels - Kail uses hers like a flamethrower by channeling it through her hands, and Vesta using hers so precisely as to channel hers as a concussive force to knock others out instead of burning them.

Unique Powers

  • Supernatural Perception - The ability to see and hear things and beings that are invisible. Atropos could tell who Castiel was while he was inside his vessel. Vesta had a variation of this power and could sense the damage to Sam's body, and unknowing and indirectly referred Gadreel as the tape holding him together. Those with this power are obviously unharmed by looking upon the true form of higher beings.
  • Truth Compulsion - The ability to compel humans to speak the truth. So far, only Veritas has displayed this power. She can also curse people so that they are told only the truth by other humans.
  • Electrokinesis - The ability to manipulate and generate electrical energy. Zeus had displayed incredible proficiency with lightnings and electricity, and Thor's hammer is a safe indication of his owner's power over thunderbolts as well.
  • Necromancy - The power to have control over spirits/souls. Osiris is able to control the spirits of the dead and can turn them into vengeful spirits. Baron Samedi, although never displayed, is safely presumed to have this power as well.
  • Foresight - As the God of Time, Chronos could see into the future and change events according to his will.
  • Power Granting - The Mayan god Cacao could grant others immortality (as well as heightened physical capabilities) in exchange for regular human sacrifices.
  • Cursing - Zeus cursed Prometheus to die and be revived, only to die yet again every day. The curse was so powerful it passed down to Prometheus' son Oliver, something Zeus hadn't anticipated. In the same way, he could inflict a curse, he could also lift it. However, the curse was also tied to Zeus and with his death, it was broken.
  • Apporting - Beau possessed the power to teleport others with a gesture.
  • Resurrection - While posing as a Trickster, Gabriel resurrected Dean after the latter had been dead for six months, although it is unknown if true Trickster deities also possess this power. As a result of a curse, Prometheus possessed this power and was resurrected each day after dying.
  • Blessings - Deities had the power to convey blessings of prosperity and good luck, although most of them only conveyed it after being served of their due sacrifices. Vesta required virgins, and the Vanir accepted to devour one male and one female in order to provide better crops for harvest, prosperity, and protection to those who feed and worship them. If these tributes aren't meet to appease the deities, the blessings they gave will begin to withe soon afterwards, and eventually fade off completely.
  • Soul Control - Plutus would be able to remove Mrs. Tran's soul from her body after she closed a deal on him.
  • Astral Projection - The Gods Fenrir, Narfi and Sleipnir each displayed an astral form of they're true faces over human form's faces. Fenrir showing a wolf face, Narfi showing a skull head, and Sleipnir showing a horses head when they became angered.

Vulnerabilities

Though they are powerful beings, deities can be killed by a variety of methods:

Types of Deities

As well as standard deities, there are also subspecies of deities, who fall into these categories:

  • Tricksters - A special type of demi-deity and supposedly quite powerful, these beings are common in many cultures and thrive on creating mischief and mayhem. They have the power to make objects materialize out of thin air and can remove them just as quickly. To kill a Trickster, one must obtain a stake dipped in the blood of its victim and plunge it into the creature's heart. Famous Tricksters include Loki of the Scandinavian pantheon and Anansi of West African myths.
  • Vanirs - the Vanir are Norse deities of fertility and prosperity; they offer these boons to lands or people in exchange for sacrifices.
  • Hold Nickar - Pagan deities of the winter, who grant mild weather in exchange for sacrifices. Madge and Edward Carrigan were both of this particular type of deity.
  • Chief Gods - Chief gods are the deities that are (or at least were) the leaders and rulers of their own pantheon. Due to this, they are (at least among) the most powerful of all deities, often possessing rare and incredible powers. Odin from the Norse gods, Cacao of the Mayan and Zeus from the Greek have all appeared on the show. 
  • Titans - Described as "proto-gods" or "gods before the gods"; known in mythology for their raw power and immense strength.
  • Demigods - Despite not being deities properly speaking, the original Amazons, as well as Oliver, are both born from deities and are, in this sense, demi-gods and demi-goddesses. The Amazons were conceived by Ares and Harmonia (both deities), and were human at their creation who became monsters when they made a deal with Harmonia to become stronger and survive extinction. Oliver, on the other hand, who is the son of a Titan with a mortal woman, was human as well as he had shown no sign of god-hood (except for the daily resurrection as result of a curse he was suffering). Not all deities' children are human, as Artemis is clearly stated as a goddess and daughter of Zeus, and the children of Loki (Sleipnir, Narfir, and Fenrir), despite Gabriel's ambiguous descriptions about what they are, surely were also far from being human.

Appearances

Pagan Deities are the fifth most recurring supernatural creatures in the series, appearing in a total of 13 episodes.

Trivia

  • Most deities so far choose to feed on human flesh as food. However, some deities such as Osiris, Chronos, and Atropos don't seem to engage in the act.
  • Despite being an archangel, Lucifer is called and viewed as a god by some demons for being their creator. Ironically, he despises pagan gods more than he does humans or demons.
  • Oliver is the first known being with a lineage from a pagan deity. Although that would classify him as a demi-god, it was not stated in the show if he indeed was. It was also not stated if his immortality was lifted along with his father's curse.
  • Zeus was the only pagan deity so far to blame his pantheon's downfall to an event other than the arrival of the Abrahamic faiths. Instead, he blamed their decline to the theft of fire by Prometheus as a gift to mankind.
  • Prometheus was described as a 'Titan' and a 'proto-god'. However, the differences between proto-gods and gods, if any, were not described nor explained. Prometheus is the only good god seen so far that only wished to help humans and shown no signs of ruling, killing, or consuming them.
  • An interesting note is that some of the deities are employed into God's plans. Atropos and her sisters, the Fates, were given their positions by God, and Oblivion was tasked to erase memories of humans who have seen anything related to the supernatural and the Apocalypse.
  • As confirmed in the last Salute to Supernatural for Season 6, deities are one of few supernatural species that do not go to Purgatory if they are killed. It would mean that they are not monsters or related to Eve, which make their origin even more mysterious.
    • It is also unknown where they are sent after death.
  • In Supernatural, it has been confirmed that the deities' powers do not come from worship. What separates the strength of individual deities is unknown. However, Sam states that deities at least gain more power when given tributes, sacrifices, or offerings. Chronos also stated that he required three sacrifices in order to control when and where he lands in time. It is shown that he can take sacrifices from any human, not just ones who willingly worshiped him, in order to focus his time travel abilities.
  • In the Supernatural Novel "Coyote's Kiss," Castiel says that the angels made a deal with the pagan deities in which the angels promised to stay out of the deities' business as long as they did not intervene in the Apocalypse. This is directly contradicted in the Season 5 episode Hammer of the Gods.
  • Pagan deities are one of two races of supernatural beings whose individual members have not been seen for more than one episode. Most or all the deities are either killed, banished, or vanquished in the episode they appear in. This trait is shared with fairies.
  • The Colt can kill pagan deities as seen in The Memory Remains.
  • The Vanir was the first deity to appear in the show.
  • Edward and Madge Carrigan, Vesta and some other deities mention Jesus Christ by name when blaming the responsible for taking over their followers and lowering their sacrifices.

References