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In her novel Angels on Fire, Nancy Collins referred to Heaven as the “Clockwork” and Angels as the individuals that maintained the gears of the universe.  But Clocks don’t run with out energy, whether it is a coiled spring or electric power, something needs to turn the gears, and I think that in Season 6 we are going to  learn that the energy that turns the gears of the Supernatural Universe is human souls.

In Supernatural, we have seen time and time again human life as the power source for mystical activity, but what if life is incidental and death is used only as a method of accessing the real power, the human soul?  We know from Crowley, “The Devil You Know” and “Two Minutes to Midnight”  that he requires a Soul to power his search to find Death, Crowley’s claim is supported by Balthazar in “The Third Man”, here an Angel is acting like a Demon laying claims to human souls because of the power they hold.  So, what power does a human soul hold?  What can raise the dead, grant, talent and skill?  My theory is that the soul holds a small amount of the pure power of creation.  From Castiel we know that Angels well at least Archangels exist in Heaven as a “multi-dimensional wavelength of celestial intent” or which is just another way of saying the pure power of creation or Grace.  This suggests that Anna’s explanation in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Heaven & Hell”, was only partially accurate, Anna true form is pure Grace, she could bleed away a large portion but some still had to remain for her to exist.  She probably also kept enough of it to cause a barren woman to conceive.  Taking this a step further implies that a human soul in the Supernatural Universe is grace, creation given personality and bound within human form.


So how do Demons, Gods and Angels access that power?  I think that there are several ways, probably the easiest and least elegant is as I mentioned earlier is sacrifice of a life.   We see the first hints of this possibility in “Home”, “Faith” and “Scarecrow”  I must admit the first time I saw these episodes I just enjoyed the action as an extension of typical horror genre archetypes, but now looking back at these episodes through the filter of Season 6, even if it is  Ret-con, it is delicious to see how well the pieces all work together to support the over all theory.   In “Home” we see Mary as a ghost, her tragic death has caused her to linger, no one would have pr known she was there until the appearance of a poltergeist caused her to manifest as a protective spirit, an extension of the hunter that she once was. In the end of the episode, she sacrifices herself, burning out the remenant of her soul that allowed her to remain as a ghost to defeat the poltergeist and protect her sons. A theory that is giving  that is given credence in Seasons 5’s  “Dark Side of the Moon” as neither she nor John can be found in heaven even though we know John escaped hell, but more about John later.   In “Faith” the preacher’s wife is using a Reaper to save deserving lives, but the Reaper can’t just reverse death, he needs the power  to do so and as a Reaper he can see and touch a soul only when someone dies or is in a near death state,  he essentially  accesses the power of the soul by exercising his ability to bring death.  Finally, in “Scarecrow” we are getting a more traditional interpretation of soul as a power source, this time through the sacrifice of human life to the Vanir a ritual that must be done yearly so that the Vanir may insure healthy harvest and prosperous town.  These are the first three examples but they are supported through out the next 5 seasons as John like Mary uses up the remains of his fading soult to tackle Azazel and save Dean, then fades out forever as the last of his grace dissipates in a few pale sparkles, in Season 3, “A Supernatural Christmas” introduces us to the pagan Yuletide divinities, longing for the sacrifices of the past, a theme repeated in Season 5’s “Fallen Idols” and “Hammer of the Gods”.   Season 4  has “Criss Angel is a Douche Bag”  is an episode where sacrifice is used in return for the power to avert death, we don’t know exactly how the spell works, but to be consistent with the Supernatural Universe I suspect it forces a Reaper to act on behalf of the caster.   And while we are speaking of Reapers, in  "Death Takes a Holiday" people who don't have their souls collected still live and  Sam and Dean take a littlle Astral trip where they learn to channel the power of their soul, something that should have come naturally to Dean since he already had practice having  "full on Swayze'd that mother" back in "In My Time of Dying"


The second way to pull power from the soul is the method most Cross Road’s Demons and now Balthazar use, call it a lien against the soul.  The more liens the more power available to pull upon.  Part of the reason that there is a time limit on the claiming of the soul may be a pure sales tactic, maybe 10 years is the point which seems so far away that most people entering into the deal think its enough until the time is up and only the really desperate are willing to make a  worse deal.  Another possible reason, which actually works better with Balthazar, and history’s non-violent Gods, is  that the soul seems to be a somewhat renewable resource when it is encapsulated in fles.  When it is dedicated and bound to you either through a contract or a religious commitment, the Demon, Angel, Deity can call on the soul's power at will and as long as they did not overdraw upon their contractees/worshippers they have a continual resource at hand.  Some of the evidence supporting this theory comes from “The Third Man” where Castiel can read who holds a marker on Aaron’s soul, and from ”Weekend at Bobby’s”, where  Crowely’s contract is inscribed into Bobby’s very flesh.  Other indications are the fact that in the “Cross Road Blues”, “Time is on My Side” and “No Rest for the Wicked” no matter where the contractee tries to hide, its like they are fitted with a Demonic Lojack.  Demons drawing power from souls would fit nicely with Lilith, “the new power rising in the west”, holding all the contracts and how with her passing and Lucifer’s second fall why Crowley, “King of the Crossroads” is now King of Hell.  Which still raises the question why collect the soul after 10 year if it is a renewable resource.  My theory on that is that Demons do not practice conservation that they draw and draw on the soul until finally the body can’t keep up and changes either physical or more likely mental start occurring that no longer can be hidden.  Another option is that if the body is overdrawn, no additional power can be called on with out having the soul freed from the flesh,  which brings me to the third way to gain power from the soul.


This is actually where I started when the idea came to me for this Meta, as much as I loved “Weekend at Bobby’s” the whole Ret-Con of how burning the Demon’s bones destroyed the demon drove me wild.  No matter what theory I cooked up I could not squeeze that square peg of a fact into the round hole that was the Supenatural’s Mythology, that is until I considered what happened in Hell, and in Heaven for that matter , and what might actually be going on.  In many faiths and mythologies there are stories of Humans transcending, finding that spiritual path or in the case of heroes, physical path to becoming more, something greater than they were to begin with.  If we translate that into the Supernatural Universe then the soul’s power its grace can also grow.  Angel’s on the other hand are static, unless God gives them an upgrade, the grace they have is the grace they had when they were created, nothing more or less.  Where as with Demon’s their grace has been all but burned from them, and only the faintest ashes remain.  Ruby tells Dean in “Malleus Maleficarum”, “There’s a real fire in the pit”, and from Dean’s own mouth in Heaven and Hell that every day they would tear him apart and put him back together.  What if all this damage to the soul is a way to squeeze out every last essence of grace possible from a soul for use by Demonic Agents on earth or higher level Demons ?  I suspect  this is how and why Lucifer created Lilith.  Other uses for the stolen grace maybe to feed Lucifer in the pit or perhaps this stolen grace is how higher level Demons keep themselves together once their bones decay to dust.  The resulting essence once almost all the grace has burned away is the black smoke we have seen through out the series.  We can then take the theory a step further and suggest that Sam or Lucifer drinking demon blood is drinking the last traces of the soul’s grace thus giving him the power boost and that is why Crowley and most demons are afraid of having their blood consumed by someone who can access that power because it destroys them.  Come to think of it, this also explains what Famine was doing.  If this is the case, then burning a demons bones destroys the last bit of fragile connection they have left to what they once were, where as many ghosts or newly dead still have all or most of their soul’s grace left.  


If we look at the other end of the spectrum, in Heaven soul’s are constantly reliving their happiest memories.  These feelings of happiness the positive energy they produce maybe how Heaven harvests the energy of the soul with out destroying it, a continually renewing resource.  But because Heaven needs positive energy souls can not interact with each other, since no matter how much you love a person there will be times of discord and bad feelings and these do not add to the energy bottom line.  The truth of the apocalypse is both sides are vying for the energy left in human souls, Heaven wants to tuck us away as a permanent battery ala Matrix, where Hell wants to just burn us up no conservation required..  This makes Hell the internal combustion engine and demons the car exhaust, while Heaven has an electric engine driven by the batteries that are human souls..


I like this theory, it actually makes me content about the one big problem I had with “Weekend at Bobby’s” answers a few but not all the objections I had with “Hammer of the Gods”, even works well with Gabriel, the only thing it does not do is explain Jesse from “The Children are Our Future”.  Jesse is still a very square peg in a round whole.  If anyone has a way to get him to fit this  theory I would love to hear it, because I have yet to make him fit any theory.








( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 20th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Wow, I think I love this theory. I think I've actually used the line about the Matrix in a different argument, about whether Dean was wrong to try surrendering to Michael in "Point of No Return". My point being that while the death toll might have been somewhat lower if Michael won, that the Angels' plan basically amounted to putting us all into the Matrix, and that really wasn't good.

But if it's literally the Matrix, that makes even more sense. The Angels, cut off from God, are dependent on humans to create more Grace, because only beings with Free Will can do that. And they resent that dependence, and the way we throw our Grace away on venal things, and yet they can only warm themselves at our fire. Brilliant!

I wonder how this might relate to Sam & Dean. Dean seems to be kind of an avatar or champion of Free Will on this show - not only is the one of the few recurring characters who has never been possessed, but people can actually resist possession sometimes to avoid hurting Dean! This may explain why angels are so drawn to him (Cas, Anna, Michael). Whereas Sam is more bound to destiny, and as such is perceived as tainted (an abomination!) by the angels. Lucifer is the only one who can access Sam's Grace, maybe? IDK, needs more thought.

Also, like a lot of people, I have the feeling that Sam's soul is somehow missing or damaged this season, and I wonder how that might fit with your theory. One horrible thought I had is that Sam may be the new Seal, that he himself is somehow binding Lucifer into his cage. So maybe he's had to give up part of his Grace to do that? Hmm...

Anyway, great theory, thanks for posting it!

Oct. 25th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Hey thanks for commenting. Sorry about the delayi n the reply.

Will on this show - not only is the one of the few recurring characters who has never been possessed, but people can actually resist possession sometimes to avoid hurting Dean! This may explain why angels are so drawn to him (Cas, Anna, Michael).

Gabriel always liked Dean, even Uriel started to like him and Lucifer I think was actually repulsed by what he represented. I think that if we go back to the idea that a human can grow their grace - like Buddha, a Saint etc then I think Dean has grown his grace and that is what attracts the Angels so much the fact that he has this excess in him. Sam I wonder if carrying the Demon's blood from birth either tainted his grace or limited his ability to grow it.

Also, like a lot of people, I have the feeling that Sam's soul is somehow missing or damaged this season, and I wonder how that might fit with your theory. One horrible thought I had is that Sam may be the new Seal, that he himself is somehow binding Lucifer into his cage. So maybe he's had to give up part of his Grace to do that? Hmm...

I agree Sam's soul is damaged or missing and he either knows it or senses its loss, that is why he wanted Dean with him so much. I am leaning to the theory that Sam either used his grace himself to get himself and Adam out of the cage, traded it to get the two of them out of the cage or had his soul so damaged by Lucifer riding him and hte fight with Lucifer that although someone brought him back, it is like he has to wait for that grace to regrow, but for dramatic purposes either his soul is gone or some one has a lien on it and is drawing on it is my theory
Oct. 20th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Fascinating! I just don't know if the writers/staff on the show actually put that much thought into the whole mytharc or really plan their 'retconning' to fit in with the over all mythology. I think sometimes they just get sloppy and forget whichever 'rules' they set in place before and slide in whichever NEW 'rule' fits the script or plot problem of that particular week. Sigh; if only they thought things out as meticulously as the fans do!!
Oct. 20th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
It's possible that Ben Edlund has, in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Supernatural magazine he said something like this: "angels are a twisted fusion of humans and angels, since Lucifer used his angelic powers to turn Lillith into a demon. (p. 57
Oct. 25th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up - I have to go read that - it would have made more sense if he had said Demons "are a twisted fusion of humans and angels, since Lucifer used his angelic powers to turn Lillith into a demon" that would make more sense but maybe the article explains more. Now to find my copy that is the trick
Oct. 25th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
oh gosh, I typed it WRONG!!! It is "DEMONS are a twisted fusion of humans and angels...." Sorry!
Oct. 25th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Hey thank for commenting, sorry about the late reply. I sure hope the writers and Sera did. I really like the organic path they are taking to rebuild the relationship and show that Sam did suffer and that something really is wrong. So much different than how it was handled in season 3 and 4. But on the other hand considering the past track record of the Writers for Weekend at Bobby's yeah I see your point
Oct. 20th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Grace is pure creation, we know this to be true from canon. We also saw a human soul burst from the brief case, and it looked a lot like the brightness of an angel’s grace.

When it is dedicated and bound to you either through a contract or a religious commitment, the Demon, Angel, Deity can call on the soul's power at will and as long as they did not overdraw upon their contractees/worshippers they have a continual resource at hand.

This makes me think of Sam. There are many possibilities, but one is that he is bound to Lucifer. I think it takes a lot more soulpower for demons to be powered. They likely aren’t as “fuel efficient” as humans or angels. Witness that a possessed human if injured will remain so after the demon leaves, but an angel heals the vessel as it goes along.

I do agree with you that demon blood contains bits of Grace. I think Lucifer used his own personal Grace to create demons. But his act was a perversion of the creation of god and that’s why the demons he created are not alive, but twisted human souls in the afterlife. I also like that “Weekend” set up that the demon was nothing more than a ghost.

So what does that make Sam? Sam is the only living demon. (Yes, I know he’s not totally a demon, but he accesses the power fueled by Grace and his eyes did go all demon black when he was channeling Grace). Sam is the Alpha of his kind. A human/demon/angel hybrid. Well Jesse would also fit the hybrid model, though I’d say minus the angel part. I was always hoping Sam was his father, but that’s just crack.
Oct. 25th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
Hey thanks for commenting, sorry about the delay in the reply.

Thank you also for pointing out the briefcase incident, I had forgotten it and for that matter I forgot how the Woman in Roadkill also turned into bright light as she transcended.

I agree with Demons not being fuel efficient ^_^ I think they and Lucifer might be using negative emotions to pull the soul's grace, pain, fear, hate, anger etc and these emotions are just as damaging to the soul as the method in which they are collected. Certainly Lucifer had to boost something by drinking Demon blood and no other angel did. Which I think says a lot. Of course if it was Lucifer's grace that demons contained it would explain why he was slurping it down, he wanted it back, but I am not sure how most Demons post Lilith would have been able to get Grace from him, isolated in the cage as he was.

I am still uncertain about what Sam and Dean are these days, except vessels that can hold a tremendous amount of grace with out spontaneously combusting
Oct. 21st, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
Hmm.... the idea of grace/souls both powering Heaven and Hell is really intriguing. And I agree: it does seem as if there's special emphasis this season on humanity, between the souls issue. Even Cas' use of Dean's blood in his ritual was interesting- why would an angel need human blood to find another angel?

After all the focus on demons and angels over the last few seasons, it'd be awesome for the show to finally look at what makes the "hairless apes" so special. That was something I thought Kripke had started to do in S5 but then that theme was kind of dropped by going the "Sam giving into his angelic vessel destiny/drinks demon blood/uses his powers" route instead. Maybe this season will be the one which celebrates humanity? It does seem like untapped territory. And it'd be a great way to involve both brothers: as another poster mentioned above, Dean as the show's avatar for humanity and Sam with his "taint" of demonic blood ingestion/powers.
Oct. 25th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for writing, sorry about the Delay in the reply

I think so too, it would go really well with how they are aligning the different Monster Alphas to create armies so that they can carve out their own kingdoms among the humans. I think that monsters that spread by infection probably have the edge, hmm I wonder what happens to the soul and grace when you become a monster
Oct. 24th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
I like your theory that souls have power that can be drawn upon by other beings, angels and high-level demons. Don't know that I think Grace fits in the way you suggest, but I need more thought on this subject. I'm not seeing this as quite so Matrix-like, where souls are batteries and keep the wheels of heaven and hell turning; more like they are a source of complementary power that can be drawn on in a different way by an individual to increase his personal status or strength. Intriguing theory, must go think.
Oct. 25th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
Hi Hon' thanks for commenting - sorry about the delay in the reply

Complimentary power works too, I just couldn't get the idea of engines out of my head ^_^ and the Black Demon smoke equaling Engine exhaust. It amused me
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )