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In 1972, [[Azazel]] possessed a [[Father Lehne|priest]] at [[St. Mary's Convent]], and killed eight nuns in the chapel. This enabled him to speak to the imprisoned Lucifer. Lucifer tells Azazel that Lilith is needed to break [[the 66 Seals]] that hold him captive in the Cage and that he needs to find a very "special child."<ref name="four22">[[4.22 Lucifer Rising]]</ref> This leads Azazel to recruit [[:Category:Special Children|select children]], including [[Sam Winchester]] and to set in motion events that subsequently lead to the breaking of the 66 Seals.
In 2008, after [[Dean]]'s return from [[Hell]], [[Castiel]] reveals that Lilith is trying to break the seals that lock the Cage in order to free Lucifer. Dean later learns that the first seal was broken when he was in Hell, and broke under torture and began torturing [[souls]] himself. Sam continues clandestine missions with [[Ruby]], developing his powers even though this involves drinking [[demon blood]], believing that killing Lilith will stop the Cage being opened.
[[Image:Luciferscage.jpg|300px|right|thumb|Sam/Lucifer and Michael/Adam fall into the Cage.]]In 2009, Sam unknowingly releases Lucifer from the Cage by killing Lilith at [[St. Mary's Convent]]. Lilith is revealed to have been the last of the 66 Seals. As Sam and Dean attempt to find a way to stop Lucifer and the impending [[Apocalypse]], [[Gabriel]] tells them that the [[Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse]] all own rings that together can reopen a portal to the Cage anywhere. After collecting all the rings, Sam comes up with a plan in which he will allow Lucifer to [[possess]] him, and then force him into the Cage. The initial attempt fails, but when Lucifer confronts Michael at [[Stull Cemetery]], Sam activates the rings and as the Cage opens, he manages to gain enough control to force himself (and Lucifer) into the Cage. [[Michael]] (in possession of [[Adam]]'s body) tries to stop him but is dragged into the Cage as well.
After the averted Apocalypse, [[Raphael]] tried to reopen the Cage to release Lucifer and Michael, to continue where the angel's plans lefy off, but was ultimately unsuccessful due to Castiel leading a civil war in Heaven to stop him. During this time, Sam is subsequently rescued from the Cage by Castiel, but his soul remained trapped in the Cage being tortured by Lucifer and Michael. [[Death]] agrees to retrieve Sam's soul, and returns it to his body, setting up a temporary "wall" in Sam's mind to prevent the knowledge of the horrors that happened in the Cage from destroying him.
Castiel and Uriel ask Dean to torture [[Alastair]] to find out who is murdering angels. In the process, Alastair revels that it was Dean who broke the first seal of Lucifer's Cage.
[[File:Lucifer's Cage Opening.jpg|right|
350px|thumb|The mouth of [[Lucifer]]'s Cage begins to open.]]
===[[4.22 Lucifer Rising]]===
Sam and Dean get the final two rings after [[Castiel]] cuts off [[Pestilence]]'s finger using [[Ruby's knife]] and [[Death]] gives his ring to Dean in exchange for his promise to do whatever it took to free him from Lucifer's control, ensuring that Sam would jump into the Cage as soon as he consented to possession by Lucifer. Death also instructs Dean on how the rings work to open the cage, although the explanation is not shown in this episode. Dean is later shown working with all four rings on a table. They join together to form a triangular shape with [[War]]'s ring in the center and the other three rings surrounding it. When Bobby asks him about Death teaching him how the rings work, Dean responds, "Yeah, it's nuts."
===[[5.22 Swan Song]]===
Sam starts remembering a portion of events that happened when he lacked a soul. After Sam and [[Dean]] resolve the murders, Sam falls onto the floor, shaking uncontrollably, where he recalls some of the torture he endured in Hell by [[Lucifer]], where he is seen covered in flames.[[File:SamInHell.png|
350px|right|thumb|[[Sam Winchester]] in Lucifer's Cage.]]
===[[6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning]]===