The 66 Seals
Dean: Why break the seal anyway?
Castiel: You think of the seals as locks on a door.Castiel: Lucifer walks free.
Dean: Okay, last one opens, and?
Lucifer cannot rise. He does and Hell rises with him.
Castiel described the Seals as locks on a door that held Lucifer prisoner. On God's command the great archangel named Michael bound his younger brother, Lucifer, with 600 seals. According to Anna only 66 had to be broken for him to be freed from his confinement.
- Although at first it seemed that the angels wanted to stop the seals from being broken, Zachariah revealed to Dean that the 'higher ups' in Heaven actually wanted the seals broken, and had lied to the other angels about their true intentions for fears of rebellion. Their motivation was that if Lucifer broke free then Michael - in his chosen Vessel, Dean - would have a chance to kill him and establish paradise.
Castiel briefly described this plan to Dean in 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester. He told Dean that the breaking of the Seals was a sign that Demons were trying to break the 66 Seals, this would ultimately result in the Fallen angel's release from Hell. Cass then reveled to Dean the name of the Fallen Angel, which was Lucifer. He also told Dean that Lucifer could only be freed if 66 out of the 600 Seals were broken.
- The first seal: "the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in hell", where 'a righteous man' seems to be defined as 'a potential vessel for Michael'. This was intended to be John Winchester; instead it was Dean.
- Rise of the Witnesses
- Raising of Samhain
- Ten species going extinct in Key West
- Everyone in a fifteen-man fishing crew going blind in Alaska
- A teacher in New York killing sixty-six students
- Death of two reapers on the night of the solstice. (unbroken)
- The final seal: "the first demon will be the last seal" - the last seal breaks when Lucifer's first demon is killed. Sam killed Lilith (Lucifer's first demon) which broke the final seal.
In this episode 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 is 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 for all creation is one step closer.
The Raising of Samhain breaks another seal.
It is revealed by Anna Milton that whilst 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 break, making it near impossible for anyone, even the angels, to predict her movements in accomplishing this task.
Ruby informs Sam that 34 of the 66 seals have been broken. She says the angels are losing, and urges him to kill Lilith.
Alistair is trying to break a seal that requires the death of two reapers on the night of the solstice. Castiel, pretending to be Bobby Singer tells Sam of this, informing Sam how it is described in a "version of Revelations":
- And he bloodied death under the newborn sky
- Sweet to taste
- But bitter once devoured
Castiel needs Sam and Dean as the demons are holed up in a refuge protected by sigils that keep angels out. The boys are successful in stopping the seal being broken.
As Dean is torturing Alastair, he reveals that Dean was responsible for the first seal breaking:
- Alastair: 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. We had to break the first seal before any others, only way to get the dominoes to fall, right? Top of the one at the front of the line. When we win, when we bring on the Apocalypse and burn this earth down, we owe it all to you, Dean Winchester.
He reveals that it had been hoped that John Winchester would be that man, but he didn't break.
Castiel confirms to Dean that he was indeed 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 stop the rising of Lucifer and the Apocalypse - although he is unclear on the details.
Rufus calls Bobby with news of more of the The 66 Seals being broken. The seals Rufus Turner reports being broken are: ten species extinct in Key West, fishing crew of fifteen goes blind in Alaska, and a teacher on New York kills 66 students, all in one day.
Castiel asks for Dean's fealty, and says he can stop the Apocalypse.
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.
Lilith's death is final seal, the one which will free Lucifer. "And as it is written, the first demon will be the last seal." This has been known both by the angels - who want the apocalypse to come, and by the Lilith and Ruby, who has been helping manipulate Sam to get him to kill her. Castiel finally reveals the fact of the final seal to Dean, but he arrives to late to stop Sam killing her and freeing Lucifer.