The 66 Seals

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The 66 Seals are all broken and Lucifer is set free.

Castiel: You think of the seals as locks on a door.

Dean: Okay, last one opens, and?

Castiel" Lucifer walks free.

Castiel and Dean Winchester, 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester

Characteristics

Lucifer cannot rise. He does and Hell rises with him.

Castiel, 4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester

The 66 Seals are special attachmetns made by God to secure Lucifer's Cage, Castiel described the seals as locks on a door that hold Lucifer prisoner.[1]. The seals are all represented by important events, the first of which was a righteous man sheading blood in Hell and the last of which was Lilith's death. When these attachments broke, Lucifer's Cage was immediately opened and he was released. According to Anna Milton, there were about 600 possible seals of which only 66 had to break for Lucifer to be freed. Due to Castiel's interactions with Dean and Sam Winchester, it is believed that Heaven was desperately trying to keep Lucifer contained and that the angels were trying to stop Lilith from breaking the Seals. Zachariah later revealed that he, along with the executive members in the Host, intended for all of the Seals following the first seal to break so that Lucifer could break free,[2] hastening the epic battle between Michael and Lucifer.

  • In addition to the 66 Seals, the rings belonging to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse can also open Lucifer's Cage from anywhere on earth.[3]
  • The Book of the Damned also contains a spell in which the essence of Lucifer was able to be pulled from the Cage without the need for actually opening it.

Known Seals

And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. As he breaks, so shall it break.

Alastair, 4.16 On the Head of a Pin

  • The First Seal: A righteous man sheds blood in Hell. This seal was originally meant to be broken by John Winchester, however he was steadfast in his refusal to break, lasting an equivalent of one hundred years before escaping. Hell, would then move on to Dean Winchester, who having made a crossroads deal for Sam to be resurrected, was given one year before his deal would be collected, with the caveat if he tried to get out of it, Sam would drop dead on the spot.
  • Rise of the Witnesses. The Witnesses are sprits of people who had died unnatural deaths at the hands of the supernatural. The Witnesses carry a special brand -- the "Mark of the Witness" -- that forces them to seek out those who failed to save them.
  • Raising of Samhain. An ancient and power demon, who can only be summoned to earth every 600 years through three human sacrifices over three days, the last of which must occur on the final day of Celtic harvest, the 31st of October.
  • Ten species going extinct in Key West.
  • Everyone on a fifteen-man fishing crew going blind in Alaska.
  • A teacher in New York killing sixty-six students.

And he bloodied death under the newborn sky—sweet to taste, but bitter when once devoured.

Sam Winchester, 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday

  • Killing death twice -- the sacrifice of two reapers on the night of the solstice. Must say "hic cruor messorius illud sigillum quod luciferem reverendum obstringit aperiat ut resurgat." Which roughly translates to "This reaper blood opens the seal that binds reverend Lucifer to rise again."

And it is written that the first demon shall be the last seal.

Ruby, 4.22 Lucifer Rising

  • The Final Seal: The blood sacrifice of the first demon will break the final seal. When Sam Winchester killed Lilith, the first demon created by Lucifer, her blood formed a portal which opened the Cage and freed Lucifer unto the earth.

Episodes

4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester

Lilith casts a spell to bring about the Rise of the Witnesses -- people whom hunters failed to save. While Sam, Dean and Bobby stop the Witnesses, the seal still remained broken.

Castiel reveals that the 66 Seals are the key to unleashing the Apocalypse. Lilith is breaking them one by one. Even if the evil thing unleashed is quelled or defeated, the seal is not restored and Hell on earth is one step closer.

4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester

Although Sam and Dean manage to defeat Samhain after he is brought to earth, the raising of Samhain still breaks another seal.

4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer

Anna Milton tells the Winchesters that while 66 Seals need to be broken for Lilith's plan to succeed, there are around 600 possible seals. No one knows which ones she will attempt to break, making it nearly impossible for anyone, even the angels, to predict her actions or prevent them.

4.12 Criss Angel Is a Douchebag

Ruby informs Sam that 34 of the 66 seals have been broken. She says the angels are losing, and urges him to kill Lilith.

4.15 Death Takes a Holiday

Alastair attempts to break a seal that requires the death of two reapers on the night of the solstice. Castiel, pretending to be Bobby, tells Sam this, informing him how it is described in a "very obscure, very arcane version of Revelations."

Castiel needed Sam and Dean to take action as the demons were holed up in a refuge protected by warding sigils that keep angels out. The boys are successful in stopping Alastair and saving the seal.

4.16 On the Head of a Pin

As Dean is torturing Alastair, Alastair reveals that Dean was responsible for the first seal breaking. He also reveals that the demons hoped that John Winchester would be the man to break the first seal, but John didn't break under their torture and always refused to shed another's blood.

Castiel confirmed that Dean is responsible for the first seal being broken, even though Heaven "laid siege" to Hell to try and rescue him. He tells Dean they raised him from Hell because only the righteous man who broke the first seal can "end it" -- although he is unclear on the details.

4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book

Lilith makes an offer to Sam to stand down from breaking and more seals and stopping the Apocalypse from going forward. Telling an unconvinced Sam she has learned that she does not "survive the war" and is killed before the "good part starts." In exchange for this Lilith demanded Sam and Dean's death. Sam initially agrees, and when they are about to seal the deal, Sam attempts to kill Lilith when Dean and Chuck burst through the door, trigger the arrival of Chuck's archangel protector, forcing Lilith to flee.

4.21 When the Levee Breaks

Rufus Turner calls Bobby with news that other seals have been broken. The seals Rufus reports being broken are: ten species going extinct in Key West, a fishing crew of fifteen going blind in Alaska, and a teacher in New York killing 66 students, all in one day. Bobby believes that there aren't many seals left and that maybe they should release Sam from his panic room to stop Lilith.

Ruby tells Sam there are only two or three seals left to be broken. She says only "Lucifer's first" can break the final seal -- and that is Lilith. This renews Sam's desire to kill Lilith.

4.22 Lucifer Rising

Lilith's death is the final seal, the one which will free Lucifer. This fact is known to the higher angelic ranks, Lilith, and Ruby. Each in their own ways, they have all been manipulating Sam so that he would kill her. Castiel reveals the nature of the final seal to Dean and sends him to stop Sam, but Dean is unable to prevent Sam from killing Lilith, freeing Lucifer.

Trivia

  • Most of the Seals witnessed focus on a corruption of the natural order; a good man goes to Hell and tortures others, ghosts rise up to attack others when they were not naturally vengeful spirits, reapers -- spirits who take the dead to the afterlife -- are killed themselves, and a teacher kills the students he is responsible for.
  • Raphael planned on freeing Lucifer and Michael from the Cage, and recommencing with the Apocalypse. It is not known how this would have worked as even if the angels broke 66 more seals, their would be no way to break the final seal.

References