Grace is celestial energy integral to angels. It is essentially what differentiates an angel and a human. If an angel removes their grace, they are either rendered mortal within their vessel, or, if they are not using a vessel, are reborn to human parents in their own body.
Grace gives angels access to Enochian Magic, which is how they use their abilities. Without it, they are rendered almost completely human.
|“||Dean: So, grace ground zero, it's not destruction, it's...
Anna: Pure creation.
Grace is a type of energy angels are infused with. It resembles a shining bluish-white mist.
All angels are endowed with their own grace, even archangels, seraphim, ordinary angels, and even the weakest angels such as cupids have grace. When not infused in an angel, grace must be stored in a vial or it will fall to Earth. Humans who see falling grace may mistake it for a meteorite. Where grace touches down on Earth, it vastly enriches its surroundings rather than destroys them; the presence of Anna's grace caused a barren field to flourish with vegetation and the spot where it landed created a massive oak tree that looked as though it were centuries old in the space of six months. It is suggested that Anna's grace resided in this tree until it was taken by Uriel.
Grace is the source of most of angels' power, endowing them with Enochian magic, including immortality and teleportation. However, angels who had their grace removed may still be able to tap into varying powers, including the ability to tune into "angel radio", Supernatural Perception, and telekinesis.
So long as a vessel is possessed by an angel, that vessel also contain that angel's grace. Even after an angel departs from their vessel, a portion of their grace lingers within that vessel. Containing traces of an angel's grace does not harm the human in question and may even help them, as Castiel notes that Gadreel's grace was keeping Sam Winchester mostly healed from the Trials of God. Once Castiel removed this grace, Sam fell ill once more.
While possessing Adina's grace, when Castiel retrieved what was left of his own grace (a portion of it was used in Metatron's spell), he became a Seraph once again but his powers weren't completely restored and his wings were damaged. It is unknown if this was a result of Metatron's spell or the amount of the grace that was left.
After a great portion of Lucifer's grace was extracted from him by Michael and his powers greatly diminished, Lucifer claims to Castiel that his diminished grace will eventually replenish. Lucifer believed that taking in some of Castiel's grace would replenish his powers at least somewhat, but Castiel refused to do so as he didn't trust Lucifer. Feeding on other angels grace did help Lucifer recharge faster.
The archangel Gabriel confirms that an archangel's grace will recharge. The Prince of Hell Asmodeus had been extracting Gabriel's grace for years, injecting himself with vials of it to vastly improve his own powers.
|“||Kinda hurts. Try cutting your kidney out with a butter knife. That kinda hurt.||”|
Though it is agonizing for the angel, it is possible for an angel's grace to be removed, either voluntarily or by force and in either vessels or in their true forms. It is viewed as a serious crime for angels to remove their own grace, one that requires the angel in question to be punished either via execution or imprisonment and torture. Anna even compared it to first-degree murder for humans. The forcible removal of grace is viewed in a similar light, as Castiel was disgusted with himself when he did it to Theo, calling it "barbaric", and later in the series likened it to cannibalism.
Angels who lose their grace fall to Earth and essentially become humans. If the angel in question is possessing a vessel at the time they lose their grace, they are then locked into their vessel until death. If, however, the angel does not have a vessel, they are reborn to human parents through a human body of their own. In the case of Anna Milton, who was reborn with her own body, she gradually lost her memories of being an angel as she grew up human, but it is unknown if she deliberately repressed her memories or if this happens over time to all angels who lose their grace. Regardless, angels who lose their grace become subject to human emotions, urges, and weaknesses. Other angels may still recognize an angel who has lost their grace, but will be able to tell that they are no longer truly an angel.
It is also possible for angels who have lost their grace to regain it in order to restore their angelic power and status. They can use either their own grace (if they can find it) or remove the grace of another angel and use it for themselves. The effects of an angel absorbing another angel's grace are unknown—specifically, whether the angel regains all of his original powers or that of the other angel's. However its revealed that using another angels grace for too long will cause the grace to burn out and kill the angel in question, although the exact time line is unknown. Whether or not any other creature can also absorb grace is also unknown.
The absorption of grace is a potentially dangerous process for humans and demons: when Anna absorbed her grace, she frantically warned Sam, Dean, and Ruby to close their eyes, and a powerful demon who did not heed her warning had his host body disintegrated in the ensuing blast. Castiel and Uriel, however, were able to watch without harm. Absorbing her grace caused Anna's body to glow white, her eyes to glow yellow, and her body to soon disintegrate in a burst of white light, requiring her to call in favors to have it restored for her to use as a vessel. Castiel's absorption of Theo's grace did not cause a similar reaction. It is unknown what happens to the angel's soul when he reabsorbs grace, although that Anna specifically feared the prospect of losing of her human emotion by regaining her grace may indicate that the angel loses his soul by regaining his grace. However, Anna seemed to continue feeling emotions.
Angels who were rendered mortal have shown some supernatural abilities, most commonly being the ability to hear other angels' telepathic communications, colloquially known as "angel radio". The angels, Castiel and Anna Milton both showed the ability to hear "Angel radio", even after their grace was removed. However, while Anna still showed other powers such as Telekinesis and Astral Perception, hearing "Angel radio" was the only ability Castiel still showed after his grace was extracted.
In Stranger in a Strange Land, Castiel stated that Jack's grace would regenerate in time, implying that if only part of angel's or nephilim's grace removed, it will be regenerate to its original power over time. In Gods and Monsters, Castiel expressed a belief that Jack's human heritage is slowing the process of his grace recharging.
An angel's grace is the third part of the spell to banish all the angels. Metatron removes Castiel's for the spell by slitting his throat and collecting his grace in a vial. He later claims to Hannah that there is some left, indicating that he didn't use it all up for the spell. This is shown to be the truth in Book of the Damned when Castiel locates his remaining grace inside a book in a library. Reabsorbing it, combined with the grace he took from Adina restores Castiel's full power and Seraphim status.
The Men of Letters theorized that an angel's grace could be used to locate that angel through a tracking spell, but did not live to test their theory. The spell requires a sufficient amount of grace, extracted and collected with a special syringe. Sam and Castiel tried to track Gadreel this way, but did not use enough grace in the spell for it to work.
Kevin Tran has stated that archangel grace is a key ingredient to open a rift between worlds, so Michael extracts some of Lucifer's grace. After the spell was casted by Kevin, Lucifer seized the opportunity and hijacked the rift to escape back to his original world.
Asmodeus has been injecting Gabriel's grace to power himself up, granting him abilities more advanced than any other demons. This shows grace, or possibly only Archangel grace, can power up other beings such as demons.
Lucifer began absorbing the power of various Angelic Soldiers from Apocalypse World to accelerate the regeneration process of his own Archangel grace, rejuvenating his strength, durability and powers.
Alternate Michael used grace to try and enhance Monsters, although this failed as the creatures he tested on were ultimately killed by it. However, it is unknown whether he used normal angel grace, or his own Archangel grace.