Archangels are fierce. They're absolute. They're heaven's most terrifying weapon.
– Castiel, 4.18 The Monster At The End Of This Book
The archangels, Michael, Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel are four powerful, angelic beings created by God before other angels. They were imbued with immense power that far eclipses that of lesser angels, demons and other supernatural beings. Castiel describes them as "fierce and absolute". They appear to be the four angels that Anna described as having personally seen God.
Angered that God demanded they bow before humanity, Lucifer started arguing with his brothers, primarily Michael, who followed God's word as law. Lucifer unsuccessfully led a rebellion in Heaven which caused him to be cast out, and subsequently imprisoned in Lucifer's Cage by Michael. Gabriel was disgusted with his brothers' behavior and refrained from choosing a side by retreating to Earth; he made himself appear as a common Trickster to remove himself from the fight. In the absence of God, Michael headed the entire Host of Heaven and Raphael continued his responsibilities as an archangel, which included protecting the prophet Chuck Shurley.
Michael is the oldest of the archangels. Before his imprisonment in Lucifer's Cage, he managed and ruled Heaven in God's absence.
Following the creation of the four archangels, a strong relationship formed between Michael and Lucifer. After the creation of Heaven, archangels, and angels, God created Earth, and later humans. God commanded all of his Angels to bow before Man. Lucifer questioned this command and retreated to Michael for support, but Michael would not listen. God then told Michael to exile Lucifer, and Michael obeyed which forever formed a wedge between them. Lucifer was thrown into a Cage and bound with 600 Seals.
Sometime later, Michael constructed a plan which involved allowing The 66 Seals to break. Participants included Michael, Zachariah and Raphael. Michael wanted the seals broken so that Lucifer could be released from the Cage, giving Michael the opportunity to finally destroy him. It is later revealed that Senior Management of Heaven did not share this plan with other angels to avoid rebellion. Castiel was oblivious to this plan at first; he later found out Heaven's true intention and told Dean, but he was soon found and destroyed by Raphael.
The 66 Seals are eventually broken and Lucifer is released. Soon after Lucifer's rising, Michael instructed Zachariah to get Dean's permission for Michael to possess him. Due to Dean's repeated refusal to serve as a vessel, Michael stayed in Heaven monitoring the situation, and when Dean was transported to the year 1978, Michael spoke to him through his father John. After months of fighting, Dean wavered in his determination and nearly assented to Michael. However, Dean and Sam escaped and Michael claimed Adam Milligan's body instead. Michael met Lucifer at Stull Cemetery, where they were interrupted by Dean. Michael threatened Dean, and was temporarily banished by a molotov cocktail of Holy Oil. Michael returned as Sam temporarily managed to regain control over his body from Lucifer. Michael tried to stop Sam from throwing himself, and therefore Lucifer, into the Cage, and was himself pulled inside.
It is speculated that following his imprisonment and Lucifer's re-imprisonment in the Cage, Michael and his brother abused and tortured Sam's soul, which was left behind during Sam's resurrection. Death eventually travels to Hell rescues Sam's soul.
Lucifer is the second archangel, and refers to Michael as his older brother. After the creation of mankind, Lucifer disputed their place in creation with his brothers and with God. These arguments annoyed Gabriel, and became so severe that he voluntarily exiled himself from Heaven. Lucifer's disobedience caused him to be cast out of Heaven. As an act of defiance, Lucifer twisted a human being's soul to create the first demon, Lilith. He was then confined against his will to a Cage. Sometime after Lucifer's incarceration, started referring to him as Satan and the Devil, while demons came to revere him as their creator.
In 1972, Azazel possessed a priest at St. Mary's Convent, and sacrificed eight nuns 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.
Lucifer is freed when 66 of the 600 Seals that imprisoned him broke - the final seal was inadvertently broken by Sam when he killed Lilith. While on Earth, Lucifer, with the help of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, caused chaos and natural disasters, with the goal of destroying humanity. Essential to Lucifer's plan is the possession of his destined vessel - Sam Winchester. He contacts Sam, playing on their shared experience as younger brothers, and 'freaks'.
Sam and Dean try to kill Lucifer with the Colt, but fail. Sam comes up with a plan in which he will allow Lucifer to posses him, and then force him into the Cage. Sam consents, but cannot take control of his own body. Later when Lucifer confronts Michael at Stull Cemetery, Castiel temporarily dispatches Michael and is killed by Lucifer, but his act gives Dean time to talk to Lucifer. Dean cannot bring Sam to the surface and Lucifer savagely beats him. Then Lucifer caught a glimpse of a toy soldier shoved into a side tray of the Impala, and a flood of emotional memories allowed Sam to take over. Sam managed to take Lucifer and Michael with him.
Raphael is first referenced when Sam and Dean investigate a case where people claim angels ordered them to kill. Father Reynolds, while administering Last Rites to Father Gregory's spirit, says "I call upon the archangel Raphael, master of the air, to make open the way. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit now descend, that this being might be awakened to the world beyond."
Raphael was the protector of the Prophet Chuck Shurley, and killed Castiel for attempting to stop the Apocalypse. Shortly after the breaking of The 66 Seals and Lucifer's release from the Cage, Raphael arrived on Earth inhabiting his vessel, Donnie Finnerman, and ended a conflict between angels and demons near a Pump 'n Go gas station in Maine. After he finished with the demons he immediately abandoned his vessel, leaving him catatonic, and ascended back to Heaven. The resurrected Castiel believed Raphael knew God's location, so with Dean's help he summoned Raphael and trapped him in a circle of holy fire. However, Raphael e denies knowing where God is and speculates that he's dead. Castiel and Dean leave him in the circle of flames.
At some point, Raphael manages to escape from the circle, and when the Apocalypse is stopped, he is prepared to restart it at all costs by releasing Michael and Lucifer. Castiel opposes him, and they find themselves in the midst of a civil war. During a skirmish Donnie Finnerman's body was destroyed by Balthazar using Lot's Salt, leaving Raphael in search of a new suitable vessel. Raphael then sends an angel named Virgil to kill Balthazar and anyone else who allied with Castiel. He eventually claims a woman as his new vessel. After being threatened with Heaven's Weapons by Castiel, Raphael flees.
Raphael is later destroyed by Castiel with a snap of his fingers after Castiel absorbs the power of all the souls of Purgatory.
After being created by God, Gabriel dwelt in Heaven with the other archangels, but fed up with Michael and Lucifer's constant bickering and the direction it was headed, he sacrificed his position in the Host as God's greatest messenger and retreated to Earth in self-exile.
Dean and Sam Winchester first encountered him while he was posing on earth as an immortal demi-god known as a Trickster. As the Trickster , Gabriel went around giving people what he judged to be their 'just desserts', punishments which ironically matched their original crime. The brothers believe they killed him with a wooden stake dipped in the blood of one of his victims, he tricked them, and survived.
A year later the Trickster trapped them both in a Time Loop where Dean died every Tuesday in different ways that proved unavoidable by any means. Around Dean's hundredth death, Sam realized who is responsible for everything and confronted the Trickster. Sam demanded that the 'demi-god' free them from the loop. He reluctantly obliged. While in the real world, Dean died again, this time for good. Sam spent six months tracking the Trickster. The Trickster assumed the form of Bobby Singer and lured Sam to him. Upon realizing that it was the Trickster, Sam pleaded with him to resurrect Dean, and he agreed.
Two years later, when the brothers investigate the case of an abusive husband killed by the Incredible Hulk, the Trickster traps them in an alternate reality of TV Shows. He tells them they need to "learn to play their roles", referring to their destiny as vessels for Michael and Lucifer. Sam and Dean start to suspect that the Trickster is more than he appears to be, and when they trap him in a ring of burning Holy Oil, he reveals himself to be the Archangel Gabriel. He claims that he "skipped out of Heaven, had a face transplant", and is berated by Dean for refusing to stand up to his family.
Later Gabriel comes to the aid of the Winchesters and a group of Gods, trying to prevent a confrontation between them and Lucifer. When Lucifer arrives, Gabriel gives the few survivors an opportunity to escape while he faces his brother. Gabriel proclaims that God was right in declaring that humans are better than angels, and that Gabriel has chosen their side in the conflict. He tries to attack Lucifer from behind through trickery, but Lucifer stabs him with his own Archangel Sword.
At one time, Gabriel may have owned an angelic weapon called Gabriel's Horn of Truth.
According to Castiel, they're known in Heaven as absolute, precise and wrathful creatures. Like all angels, their true forms are very intense, and have proven not only harmful but possibly fatal to humans. Their presence outside a vessel is often visualized as a blinding white light, and their arrival can cause minor tremors, as shown by Lucifer when when the Chapel shook as he escaped the Cage, and by Raphael while intervening to protect Chuck. They may also emit a piercing sound, which has proven to be excruciating to humans. During a subsequent appearance, Raphael causes the entire Eastern Sea Board to experience a black out. Shortly before his defeat, Lucifer's presence causes the temperature to drop drastically in Detroit.
It has been stated that Michael and Raphael are tethered to prophets, and Gabriel served as God's greatest messenger.  As mentioned previously, Raphael seemed to be the one who monitored and protected Prophet Chuck Shurley. Before his fall, Lucifer was God's most beloved angel; he was considered beautiful, and was well respected in Heaven.
Archangels view themselves as the highest authority over all of creation since God's departure from Heaven. As leaders in Heaven, Michael and Raphael commanded the Host of Heaven, issuing orders to the "Senior Management" who were responsible for deploying angels to Earth. They did not share all their plans, especially their intention to allow Lucifer to be freed, to avoid rebellion in the lower ranks. Most of them show little respect while interacting with humans, although Gabriel eventually confesses his appreciation of humanity.
The relationships between Archangels and their vessels can be complex. Holding an archangel is damaging to a human; Raphael's vessel Donnie was left catatonic after his possession. Lucifer's continued presence in Nick, an alternate vessel, causes the human's body to breakdown, as evidenced by burn-like marks on his skin. Lucifer's vessels can be strengthened with demon blood to better survive the ordeal. Despite his contempt for humanity as a whole, Lucifer showed some sympathy toward Nick, and toward Sam, his true vessel. Michael, though condescendingly, was willing to explain his position to Dean while occupying his father, and promised not to leave Dean a "drooling mess" after his service.
Powers and Abilities
Archangels possess the powers and abilities that are inherent in other angels, which are detailed in Angel Lore, but have additional strengths commensurate with their rank. Their telekinesis, for example, appears to have a wider range than that of the average angel. Gabriel snaps his fingers and flames appear on two candles. Raphael can manipulate electricity. Lucifer can alter temperature.
Perhaps the greatest measure of the archangels' strength is their ability to overpower other supernatural beings. Lucifer, unarmed, killed a number of pagan gods with ease using his bare hands and telekinesis (or molecular combustion). Lesser angel have also been defeated by archangels. Gabriel banishes Castiel to another location with a snap of his fingers. Michael does the same to a young Uriel. They may resort to more violent methods to make a point. Raphael beats Castiel, and leaves him bloody in his favorite corner of Heaven when Castiel refuses to give him his allegiance. They fight again at Balthazar's house, and once again Raphael easily overpowers Castiel, and throwing him down Balthazar's staircase. When they choose, archangels can kill without fighting. Michael incinerates Anna with a gesture when she threatens his plans. On separate occasions, Lucifer and Raphael both caused Castiel to explode. Archangels can also block the powers of their lower ranking brothers; Raphael prevented Castiel from using his powers on Crowley.
Archangels can resurrect humans at will, even when out of contact with Heaven. Michael heals Sam completely after he was impaled with a pipe, and bled out. Gabriel, while posing as the Trickster, kills and resurrects Dean dozens of times in a time loop. Lucifer tells Sam that if he killed himself he would resurrect him, and Castiel states that if Anna killed Sam that Lucifer would only resurrect him.
A degree of prescience is also shown by the archangels, though they may not have a complete picture of the future. They know that Dean and Sam are the predestined vessels of Michael and Lucifer. Michael has a glimpse of the confrontation between Zachariah and Dean before it happens, in particular the damage inflicted on Sam and Adam. Lucifer predicts, correctly, that Sam will surrender to him in Detroit within a few months, but he does not see his downfall before it happens.
The archangels have an ability to manipulate reality, which Gabriel in particular embraces. Gabriel can construct alternate realities and time loops, and control who is aware of the situation. He can create things out of thin air, including murderous accomplices and duplicates of himself. Gabriel can change the appearance of objects, as he proved when he made a can of diet Orange Slice look like his archangel sword, and can change his own form. Lucifer claims to have taught Gabriel all his "tricks", and uses some of them himself. Lucifer appears to his vessel Nick as Sarah, Nick's murdered wife, and makes him see blood in his bed and his dead child's crib. The devil appears in Sam's dreams as Jess.
Every archangel apparently possesses knowledge of Lucifer's Cage and how it works, above and beyond the existence of the Seals. Michael understands the prison very well because he cast Lucifer into it. Gabriel knew that the Cage can be reopened with the Horsemen's Rings, and Lucifer, despite Gabriel's word, knows this too. Raphael may have known of another method to open the Cage, as he intended to reopen it to restart the Apocalypse.
- An Archangel's Sword can kill an Archangel.
- The other Weapons of Heaven can harm and possibly kill an Archangel. Lot's Salt, one of the weapons, turned Raphael's vessel into a pillar of salt, which made it uninhabitable.
- The Colt can damage, but not kill, Lucifer, who says that he is one of "only five things in all of creation that that gun can't kill." It is not known if the other three archangels are also immune.
- Archangels may be able to harm each other without weapons, as Michael and Lucifer went unarmed to their confrontation.
- Some spells can harm archangels. Kali bound Gabriel to her location by gaining a blood sample from his human vessel, and Castiel attempted to summon Raphael to his vessel using Enochian. Enochian Sigils can hide a person from archangels.
- Holy Fire can restrain an archangel; Holy Fire can also be used to banish an archangel for a short period of time.
- Lucifer's Cage can tightly secure Archangels, as seen with Michael and Lucifer.
- Despite the fact that angels, under normal circumstances, can't harm an Archangel, if they can tap into the power of enough souls, they can banish, or even kill them.
- At present, only four archangels are known to exist and only two are still alive.
- No one has ever tried to banish an archangel with an Angel Banishing Sigil, so it remains unclear as to whether or not it would work on one.
Archangels in Lore
- Archangels on Wikipedia
- 2.13 Houses of the Holy
- 6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much
- 2.15 Tall Tales
- 3.11 Mystery Spot
- 5.08 Changing Channels
- 5.19 Hammer Of The Gods
- 4.18 The Monster At The End Of This Book
- 4.22 Lucifer Rising
- 5.01 Sympathy For The Devil
- 5.18 Point Of No Return
- 5.03 Free To Be You And Me
- 5.22 Swan Song
- 4.16 On The Head Of A Pin
- 5.03 Free To Be You And Me
- 5.22 Swan Song
- 5.13 The Song Remains The Same
- 6.20 The Man Who Would Be King
- 6.03 The Third Man
- 5.10 Abandon All Hope