|“|| 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.
— Sam and Jody Mills
in Time After Time
Gods/Deities, or 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 human religion 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 (Prometheus), but many are evil. Many of them are known to have a taste for human flesh and they are confirmed to use humans as a food source as well as offerings through virgin sacrifices.
Pagan Deities are also one of the most recurring supernatural creatures in Supernatural.
At various points in time, or possibly simultaneously, pagan deities started to appear. Over time, they formed their own collective pantheons and religions amongst the humans, which attracted many followers across the Earth. These deities were worshiped for centuries, and in some cases, millennia. Due to the tributes, these deities became immensely powerful, as Sam once described them as being "...just short of invincible." 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 worshipers, forcing them to rely on taking sacrifices but without any worshipers it became much more difficult to receive offerings and sacrifices which significantly weakened many of them. In the modern era, many pagan deities are scattered across the world, either holding minor cults, or simply taking sacrifices by killing others.
Little is known about pagan gods' early past or origins, though their existence apparently dates back to at least the oldest civilization of mankind, and there have been multiple generations of gods sired. According to Kali, there were billions of deities.
Despite numerous deities appearing in Supernatural, the most predominant deity in Supernatural is the one that serves as the center icon of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), who is referred to 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.
|“||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. 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. 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 the actual sacred tree.
As pagan deities, they are powerful beings. However, there are numerous differences between them, from their age to their abilities. They may also hold differing stances on certain events or they may be sectarian and be against other beliefs and religions. Many of them are prideful and arrogant, 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. Some even openly attack humans simply for their own amusement and have shown sadistic pleasure in harming, torturing, and killing humans. Besides the god Prometheus, no deity has ever shown any opposition to harming or killing humans.
They also don't hold much loyalty to each other (except for perhaps other deities from the same religions), 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. Lucifer openly shows disgust for Mercury and the other deities for their lack of loyalty to one another and for their pride, calling them petty, and worse than humans or demons - he then kills Mercury and several other deities 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 many of them continue to follow pre-set ones, regardless of the number of followers they have left.
- Anansi (Tie-in books only)
- Huehuecoyotl (Tie-in books only)
- Tiamat (mentioned only) (unknown)
- Moloch (deceased)
- Zao Shen (deceased)
- Ares (mentioned only) (unknown)
- Atropos (a Fate)
- Calliope (deceased)
- Chronos (deceased)
- Clotho (a Fate) (mentioned only) (alive)
- Harmonia (mentioned only) (unknown)
- Hesperus (mentioned only) (unknown)
- Lachesis (a Fate) (mentioned only) (alive)
- Oliver (possible demi-god, due to being the son of a 'Titan')
- Paeon (Tie-in Novels only) (deceased)
- Pan (mentioned only) (unknown)
- Plutus (deceased)
- Prometheus (described as a 'Titan' or 'proto-god') (deceased)
- Zeus (deceased)
- Haitian Voodoo
- Baron Samedi (deceased)
- Bimbogami (Poverty God) (Anime)
- Cacao (mentioned only)
- Devla (mentioned only)
- Leshi (deceased)
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.
- God - He is worshiped by Catholicism, Christianity, etc., but is not a deity in the concepts of the series.
- Eve - The Mother of All Monsters.
- Lucifer - As the creator of all demons, he was regarded as a god by some of them and human satanists.
- Castiel - After taking in all of the souls in Purgatory, he declared himself the new God.
- Metatron - When ruled Heaven he declared himself a new god, like Castiel.
- Samhain - A powerful demon, who was mistaken for a god by the ancient Celts.
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 powers 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 human sacrifices.
While each deity has unique powers, they do share certain powers (as such the section). 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 their variation, it is split into standard powers which they all have, similar powers, which some have, and unique 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. Weapons belonging to (and presumably made by) other pagan deities also seem to be effective against them to some extent. According to Sam, while they were still being worshiped, they were next to invincible. Despite having lost most of their worshipers, 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 divine. A deity's powers depend on the type of deity it is.
- 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. Leshi and Osiris used this to learn from their victims.
- Super senses - Some deities, such as Leshi and Osiris, possess superhuman senses.
- 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). Zeus was able to strangle a person with a twist of his wrist, and casually tortured Prometheus. Also, Harmonia, the mother of the original amazons, transform them into supernatural creatures in the point to prevent them from extinction.
- Time Manipulation - The power to manipulate time. Atropos is 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. 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 rituals. 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.
- Supreme Knowledge - While not a power per se, many deities have greater knowledge than other supernatural beings. Many deities, such as Atropos, Odin, Baldur, Kali, Ganesh, Chronos, Baron Samedi, and Mercury possess incredible knowledge of events and people that many other beings do not know about.
- Shapeshifting - Veritas had this power to a limited degree. Tricksters, Leshi, Ganesh, also have this power.
- Possession - Vanir are 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 affect. 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. A group of deities were 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 flame thrower by channeling it through her hands, and Vesta using hers so precisely as to channel hers as concussive force to knock others out instead of burning them.
- 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 electricity. Zeus had displayed incredible proficiency with electricity.
- 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.
- Foresight - As the God of Time, Chronos could see into the future.
- Power Granting - The Mayan God Cacao could grant others immortality (as well as heightened physical capabilities) in exchange for regular sacrifices.
- Cursing - Zeus cursed Prometheus to die and be revived, only to die yet again everyday. 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.
- Summoning - 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 demi-deity Tricksters also possess this power. As a result of a curse, Prometheus possessed this power and was resurrected each day after dying.
- Blessings - In exchange for human sacrifices Deities like Vesta who wanted virgins, and the Vanir who wanted one male and one female are able 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 then the blessings they gave will begin to fade shortly after, and eventually fade off completely.
Though they are powerful beings, deities can be killed by a variety of methods:
- Specific rituals - Leshi, Veritas, and the Vanir could be killed by a specific ritual assigned to them. Osiris could be incapacitated (but not killed) by one.
- Wooden Stakes- Many deities are also vulnerable to certain types wooden stakes, which must usually be dipped in certain kinds of blood (Chronos, Zao Shen, Veritas, Plutus, Vesta, Calliope). The stakes were often made from trees that are common to the home country or nation of the deity. Zeus was vulnerable to a wooden stake made of a tree struck by lightning.
- Divine Weapons- Both Beau and Vili were easily killed with Thor's hammer Mjölnir by Sam, while it was implied that Atropos could be killed by a magical knife in Heaven's arsenal. Artemis' weapons were also capable of permanently killing deities as shown with Zeus and Prometheus.
- The Colt - As seen with Moloch, the Colt can kill deities.
- Primordial Entities- Higher beings, including other deities, can kill them. Lucifer, an Archangel, was able to easily overpower and slaughter a number of high-level deities, as well as negating their powers.
- Lack of Tributes- Pagans get a lot of their power from tributes, so a lack of tributes can reduce the deities' overall power.
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 Scandinavian myth and Anansi of West Africa.
- Vanirs - Deities of Norse belief, the Vanir are Deities of Fertility and Success; they offer these boons to lands or people in exchange for sacrifices.
- Hold Nickar - Pagan Deities of the Winter Solstice, 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 Patheon, due to this they are (at least among) the most powerful of all deities, often possessing rare and incredible powers. Odin from the Norse Pantheon, Cacao of the Mayan Pantheon and Zeus from the Greek Pantheon have appeared on the show.
- Titans - Mentioned as being the "gods before the gods", known in mythology for their raw power and brute strength.
- Children of Deities - Despite not being deities, properly speaking, the original Amazons, as well as Oliver, are both born from deities. It seems that regardless of who the deities mate with, the result of the union is always human, as the Amazons who were conceived by Ares and Harmonia (both deities) were human at their creation (they only become monsters when they made a deal with Harmonia to become stronger and survive extinction) and Oliver, who is the son of the Titan Prometheus and the human Hayley, was human as well as he had shown no sign of being a deity (except for the curse he was suffering).
Pagan Deities are the fifth most recurring supernatural creatures in the series, appearing in a total of 13 episodes.
- Season 1
- Season 3
- Season 5
- Season 6
- Season 7
- Season 8
- Season 9
- Season 10
- Season 12
- Many deities 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 pagans more than he does humans.
- 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.
- 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 more mysterious.
- 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 that 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.
- It seems The Colt can kill pagan deities as seen in The Memory Remains.
- Vanir was the first deity to appear in the show