|“||When the oil burns, no angel can touch or pass through the flames, or he dies.||”|
in Free to Be You and Me
Holy Oil is a very rare substance that can be found in Jerusalem. A circle of burning holy oil is so far the only way to trap a celestial being. Utilized properly, it is also one of the few substances that can kill all angels but Michael. It also has a level of effectiveness against demons, killing lower demons and causing severe pain to higher demons. It can work as a cure for Rabids.
The angel will not be able to leave the circle, or both it and its vessel will face certain death. It should be noted that a circle of holy fire is not the equivalent of a devil's trap: while inside the circle, the angel can still use of some of their abilities and are able to move; they merely choose not to leave the circle out of fear of touching or passing through the holy fire. If an angel touches or passes through/over holy fire, then not only will the human vessel be destroyed and die, the angel will be killed as well. However, if an angel is burned by holy fire merely to the brink of death and doesn't die right away, another angel can heal them of their injuries.
Michael, however, is resistant to the holy fire and could not be killed by it. The Holy Fire is still extremely painful for him and can temporarily banish him. Holy Fire is capable of holding at least Gabriel and Raphael, though the latter somehow escapes without being released. It was also recently shown to be capable of holding Lucifer for a short time.
Holy Fire can kill demons if they are in it long enough, otherwise it will just cause them extreme pain, as demonstrated in Abandon All Hope..., when Castiel threw Meg into Holy Fire.
In Soul Survivor, a demon dissatisfied with Crowley's rule douses himself in Holy Oil and ignites it, killing himself.
According to the demon Word of God tablet, Hellhounds can be seen through an object scorched with Holy Fire. This is shown to be true in Trial and Error when Dean scorches two pairs of glasses with Holy Fire and he and Sam are able to see and kill a Hellhound.
When he was searching for a cure for rabids, Sam found a reference in the Bible to holy oil being used for purifications. Having learned that he is "unclean in a biblical sense", Sam used a sponge doused in holy fire on himself and the rabid infection burned away. Mere proximity to holy fire was also proven to be enough to cure rabids, as a group was cured when Sam trapped them in a ring of holy fire.
Crowley later states that even when combined with warding, holy fire can only contain an archangel for a few minutes. However, as it was shown to easily hold both Raphael and Gabriel, this may be in relation to Lucifer who is more powerful than the other two.
In an attempt to free Castiel from Lucifer's possession and send him back to the Cage, the Winchesters, Crowley and Rowena summoned Lucifer into an angel trap surrounded by holy fire. Eventually the warding and the holy fire failed and Lucifer was released.
While battling the Prince of Hell Ramiel, Sam, Dean and Mary Winchester used a circle of holy fire to contain him. Ramiel simply commented that it was "toasty" and broke free easily minutes later using the Lance of Michael.
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