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, Time After Time
|Season(s)||1, 3 - 9|
|Title/Alias||Pagans, Old gods|
|Occupation||Controlling their affiliated religions, gaining sacrifices|
|Affiliation:||Themselves & Religion|
Pagan Gods/Deities, or the Old Gods, are a race of immortal supernatural beings, and each is 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 majority of them are cruel, petty, uncaring, and only concerned with themselves and their survival. Some of them are neutral, but the majority are evil. Several 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 the distant pre-history, various pagan deities appeared. Over time, they formed their own collective pantheons and religions, 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 gods are scattered across the world, either holding minor cults, or simply taking sacrifices by killing others.
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. God is claimed to be all-powerful and knowing by multiple sources.
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 gods, 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 gods as soon as they received a better offer. Lucifer openly shows disgust for Mercury and the other gods 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 gods 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.
Known Pagan GodsEdit
|The Titanic. Yes, well, uh, it was meant to sink, and I saved it.|
This article or section is about a canonical subject but contains information from sources (novels, animated series or comics) that are either not canon or are dubiously canon.
- Hel (Tie-in Novels only)
- Oblivion (Tie-in Novels only)
- Anansi (Tie-in books only)
- Huehuecoyotl (Tie-in books only)
- Janus (Tie-in books only)
Other kinds of godsEdit
Aside from God and the commonly known pagan gods, there are beings that have or have had statuses, abilities and/or titles similar to those of deities.
- Eve - The Mother of All Monsters.
- Lucifer - As the creator of all demons, he was regarded as a god by some of them.
- Castiel - After taking in all of the souls in Purgatory, he declared himself the new God.
- Samhain - A powerful demon, who was mistaken for a god by the ancient Celts.
- Fenris - Worshiped by a cult of Werewolves as a god
Powers & AbilitiesEdit
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 god and how old and powerful they are. They also gain power through human sacrifices.
While each god 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 gods 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 gods also seem to be effective against them to some extent.
- Super strength - They are exceedingly strong, with even the weakest deities being able to casually overpower 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 gods, such as Leshi, Osiris, and most notably, Mercury, can move at incredible speeds.
- Telekinesis - The ability to move objects with their mind. Many gods possess this power, such as Kali, Osiris, Leshi, Beau, Veritas and Artemis.
- 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 gods, such as Leshi and Osiris, possess superhuman senses.
- Teleportation - Some of the older and more powerful gods 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 god (Mercury). Zeus was able to strangle a person with a twist of his wrist, and casually tortured Prometheus.
- 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.
- Spellcasting - 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 gods, 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.
- Conjuration - The power to create or to uncreate something or someone from nothing. Tricksters are known to have this ability.
- 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.
- 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 gods 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 gods were able to lure Sam and Dean to them by creating an enormous storm.
- Pyrokinesis - The ability to manipulate and generate fire by thought. Kali has this power. Vesta also had this power.
- 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.
- Granting Immortality - 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-god Tricksters also possess this power. As a result of a curse, Prometheus possessed this power and was resurrected each day after dying.
Though they are powerful beings, gods 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 gods are also vulnerable to certain types wooden stakes, which must usually be dipped in certain kinds of blood (Chronos, Zao Shen, Veritas, Plutus, Vesta). The stakes were often made from trees that are common to the home country or nation of the god. Zeus was vulnerable to a wooden stake made of a tree struck by lightning.
- Weapons of the gods: 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 gods as shown with Zeus and Prometheus.
- Higher beings: Higher beings can easily kill them, including other higher gods. Lucifer, an archangel, was able to easily overpower and slaughter a number of high-level gods.
- Lack of Tributes: Pagans get a lot of their power from tributes, lack of tributes, can reduce the gods' overall power.
Types of GodsEdit
As well as standard gods, there are also subspecies of gods, who fall into these categories:
- Tricksters - A special type of demi-god 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.
- Vanir - Gods of Norse belief, the Vanir are Gods of Fertility and Success; they offer these boons to lands or people in exchange for sacrifices.
- Hold Nickar - Pagan Gods 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.
- Season 5
- Season 8
- Many deities choose to feed on human flesh as food. However, some gods 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 just as much if not more so 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 (possibly because he already lost the majority of his followers before most of the Abrahamic faiths arrived).
- 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.
- Atropos is also the only pagan deity so far that could enter Heaven by her own will. However, as she had two other sisters who had the same job, it is likely that all three of them could perform such feat.
- 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.
- While some gods fought Lucifer (an archangel) and lost, the series has yet to show the difference in power between gods and the multitude of other beings in the Supernatural series. However, it has been confirmed that standard deities are stronger than humans, monsters (although it is unknown if this includes the Leviathans), and demons.
- 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 gods at least gain more power when given tributes, sacrifices, or offerings."The old gods got a lot of their mojo from worshippers, from people feeding them." However, gods like Osiris don't seem to take sacrifices. Chronos also states that he (but not all gods) 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 worshipped him, in order to focus his time travel abilities. So it appears tributes be only one factor, towards how powerful a god is, and also isn't always a factor for every god as well
- Deities have appeared in all seasons except for Seasons 2 and 4.
- 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 gods are one of two direct races of supernatural beings, whose individual members have not been seen for more than one episode. Most or all the gods, either are killed, banished, or vanish before the episode they appear in. This trait is shared with fairies.
- Although Kali labelled Gabriel and the Judeo-Christian Religion to be linked to Westerners, all Abrahamic faiths originated in Asia, not unlike other major religions, including Kali's.
- Ironically the weapon used to kill Chronos was made by vestial virgins, followers of another god (or goddess rather) Vesta who was later encountered and killed by Sam and Dean. Both gods were also faced by Sheriff Jody Mills who killed Vesta and helped fight Chronos.