|“||God locked the Darkness away where it could do no harm, and he created a Mark that would serve as both lock and key, which he entrusted to his most valued lieutenant, Lucifer. But the Mark began to assert its own will, revealed itself as a curse, and began to corrupt. Lucifer became jealous of man. God banished Lucifer to Hell. Lucifer passed the Mark to Cain, who passed the Mark to you, the proverbial finger in the dike.||”|
The Mark of Cain, or simply The Mark for short, was the seal created in order to lock away The Darkness. God gave the Mark to Lucifer, who in turn passed it onto Cain to use as the source of The First Blade's power. It is one half of the weapon that Cain used against the rest of the Knights of Hell. Cain later copied the Mark onto Dean, so that the hunter could kill Abaddon. It was removed from its final bearer when Rowena cast a spell from the Book of the Damned, but unknowingly released The Darkness upon the Earth.
Because of its origin, dating back to before God's creation of the Universe, the Mark of Cain has often been referred to as the first curse.
|“||Our conundrum is simple, Sam. Your brother cannot be killed, and the Mark cannot be destroyed; not without inciting far greater evil than any of us have ever known.||”|
|“||I am the original Mark.||”|
According to Death, before the archangels, light, and even God, there was the Darkness. God and his archangels defeated the Darkness in a terrible war and after he locked it away, God created the Mark as a lock for the Darkness. He gave the Mark to Lucifer and it corrupted him into being jealous towards humanity. He passed it onto Cain and it corrupted him too. If the Mark is removed without being passed on, the Darkness will be released once more.
When Dean used the First Blade for the first time, he felt a murderous rage that did not dissipate after he killed a victim with it. It later gave him immunity to Abaddon's powers and telekinesis and have a telekinetic control of the blade, all with great concentration, allowing him to overcome and kill her. After killing Abaddon, this rage caused him to mutilate her corpse. He also displayed superhuman strength while fighting a vampire. Dean later showed precognition, receiving a nightmare about a slaughter he would later commit under the Mark's influence. When a human with the Mark refuses to give into its rage, it seems to keep them from being able to access its other abilities as when Dean fought Cain and didn't give into the Mark's rage, he displayed no extraordinary abilities which Cain noted. However, though mostly due to the devil's trap Cain was confined in that bound most of his powers, Dean proved capable of defeating Cain even without the Mark's abilities while Cain with the Mark's abilities couldn't defeat him.
When the bearer of the Mark receives a mortal wound that would kill them, the Mark transforms their soul into a Knight of Hell, so that it can live on, and never perish. It is also revealed that if the bearer does not satisfy the Mark, by killing, it will slowly but steadily turn them into a demon (presumably to make them willing to kill). Castiel explains that the grip of the Mark affects the bearer on more than just a purely physical level, and that cutting it off or even burning it off wouldn't work and it would require a source of great power. He even stated that it reaches back to the time of creation itself and that it predates the lore. According to Metatron, there is a way to remove it and it requires the First Blade to work. Conversely, Cain himself claims there is no cure. Metatron later admitted about lying about knowing how to remove the Mark though Rowena claimed it is simply a curse, the oldest curse in existence but even she doesn't know how to remove it.
It is later believed that the Book of the Damned contains a spell to remove the Mark of Cain from a human and fully cure its effects, but it comes at a price: If not properly handled, it will do far more harm than good. Rowena is eventually able to use the spell to remove the Mark from Dean's arm, but it released the Darkness as Death warned.
When the Darkness is unleashed, she temporarily assumes the form of a human woman, wearing the Mark on her upper chest. It is later revealed that she entered into a baby as it came into the world, the Mark still on her chest.
|“||I spent millions of years crammed into that cage, alone and afraid, wishing - begging - for death, because of you!||”|
in We Happy Few
Amara has alluded to her prison being confining and frightening. Furthermore, despite preferring solitude, when her brother attempted to lock her away a second time, she became agitated and fought back in desperation, saying she'd rather "die a million times" and "murder [him] a million more" before going back, implying her fear of it.
Effects of the Mark
|“|| Dean: Can I use it to kill that bitch?|
Cain: Yes. But you have to know, with the Mark comes a great burden. Some would call it a great cost.
|“||The Mark didn't change you, it just made you more of what you already were.||”|
The Mark imbues its bearer with several powers as well as psycho-supernatural burdens which eat away at the bearer's character.
- Super Strength - The Mark grants the bearer enough augmented strength to overpower a lower vampire and easily cut its head off and also shrug out of a lesser angel's hold. Dean was able to easily massacre a whole room full of grown, strong men, and emerge seemingly unharmed. Dean was able to effortlessly hoist Abaddon into the air while stabbing her with the Blade. Dean later effortlessly breaks free of ropes tying him to a chair and leather restraints. He also proves strong enough to beat Castiel, a Seraphim and to the point of near unconsciousness and draw a lot of blood with ease. (Although Castiel wasn't trying to harm Dean at the time, merely subdue him) However, he was unable to defeat Metatron when he was in possession of the angel tablet.
- Murderous Rage - The Mark affects the bearer to where they constantly must kill something. If they don't, they'll eventually die as pointed out by Crowley. However, as demonstrated by Cain, this could be fought and Sam suggests that the bearer must want to at a conscious level for it to work. Metatron states that each time the bearer gives into the Mark's rage, they fall more and more under its power. After giving in to its power once more, Cain felt that it was better to let the Mark control his actions and not fight it. After Charlie Bradbury was murdered by Eldon Frankenstein, the rage caused Dean to slaughter his entire family and even kill an innocent boy. He also nearly killed Castiel under its control but stopped himself in the end.
- Telekinesis - The Mark grants the bearer the ability to summon the Blade to the hand that calls it.
- Resurrection - In order to ensure that The Mark is always connected to a living being, if the wearer dies, it will resurrect the bearer back to life as a demon. This can be reversed through the Demon Curing Ritual though the wielder will still retain the Mark even after being rendered human again. However, Cain indicated that if one wielder of the Mark killed the other with the First Blade they wouldn't come back as he seemed to think his killing Dean would be permanent. He also seemed to believe Dean killing him would be permanent too which is very likely because the first blade killed Cain permanently.
- Regeneration - The Mark grants the bearer the ability regenerate superficial lesions instantaneously. They can even immediately regrow limbs post amputation.
- Immunity - The Mark allows the wearer immunity to demonic powers, as shown by Dean resisting Abaddon's telekinesis. It also granted Dean great resistance to the Demon Curing Ritual, causing him to retain demonic mannerisms long into the ritual even when he was made human enough to be immune to a devil's trap. However, the Mark did not make him completely immune and he was eventually cured. It doesn't typically grant immunity to magic, as the transfiguration spell still affected Dean. However, if the spell used is able to kill and obliterate the body of the bearer of the mark, it will shield him/her from it as to keep the host alive. As seen, the mark made Dean immune to a spell Rowena cast that should have ripped his body apart.
- Super Stamina - The Mark greatly enhances the bearers stamina. Dean was able to go without sleep and food for several days with no ill effects.
- Precognition - Dean had a nightmare that showed him in a room having slaughtered a group of men. It later came true.
- Immortality - According to Death, the Mark makes the wielder virtually immortal as its power is such that even Death himself can't reap the person with the Mark. This is because the Mark is needed to lock the Darkness away and needs a living host.
- Binding the Darkness - The main purpose and power of the Mark is to bind the Darkness. As long as the Mark exists, she is bound. If the Mark is removed without being transferred to someone else, the Darkness is released.
- Corruption - The Mark, due to its connection to the Darkness, has the power to slowly corrupt the wielder no matter how powerful a being they are. The Mark was able to corrupt both Lucifer and Cain, despite the former being a powerful archangel, and turned Dean into a demon before it was removed. However, at least in Lucifer's case, the Mark simply made him more of what he already was, as, according to God, he never liked humans.
- Transference - The wielder of the Mark has the power to transfer it to another "worthy" person.
- Powering The First Blade - The Mark is the source of The First Blade's power, allowing it to kill anything in existence, as Cain himself said, "The mark and the blade work together. Without the mark, the blade is useless. It's just an old bone".
- The Darkness (originally)
- Dean Winchester (cured)
- Sam Winchester (incomplete transfer due to Amara's retaliation)
- Castiel (alternate timeline; erased)
- The Mark is the main antagonist of Season 10, along with Rowena.
- The Mark of Cain can only be worn by someone "worthy", as explained by Cain. Dean inquired as to whether he needed to be a killer like Cain, which the demon confirmed.
- The Mark is so mysterious that even the Men of Letters didn't have any record of it.
- According to Sam, Cain didn't really transfer the Mark to Dean as much as copy it, as Sam states that Cain still possessed it.
- In The Things We Left Behind, Dean fell under the Mark's influence and went into a murderous rage without the First Blade and slaughtered five people.
- In The Hunter Games, the Mark glowed without being in the presence of the First Blade which drove Dean into another murderous rage; nearly killing Metatron while torturing him.
- In About a Boy, Dean loses the Mark while turned to the age of 14 again as he didn't have it then. The Mark returns when he returns to his proper age.
- Cain's comments in The Executioner's Song indicate that if one bearer of the Mark kills another with the First Blade they wouldn't come back, as Cain didn't seem to think Dean would be resurrected by the Mark if he killed him. This is proven in fact when Dean killed Cain.
- In The Executioner's Song, Sam and Dean both felt that Dean giving into the Mark to kill Cain himself would likely cause him to lose control of himself completely. As a result, when Dean fought Cain, he didn't give into the Mark and displayed only normal human abilities. However, this proved enough for him to beat Cain, only calling on the Mark to power the First Blade so Cain could be killed and Dean retained his humanity.
- According to Rowena in Inside Man, the Mark is simply a curse, though the first curse in existence. Metatron also states that it is God-level or Lucifer-level power and only someone like Lucifer might know how to remove it. It is also not on the Word of God tablets.
- When the Mark was placed on a host, it was slightly salient. However, the Mark on Amara's shoulder is flat.
- Every time the Mark appeared on a host, it was placed on their right arm, just below the elbow. Even when God attempted to transfer the Mark to Sam, it appeared on the same location as its previous hosts.
- Whenever Dean is using the Mark or is under its influence, a high-pitched noise can be heard in the background. This is noticeable in several scenes, including when Dean is battling Abaddon and then kills her.
- The Mark is the first known alternate way a human soul can be converted to a demon without sending a soul to Hell and be tortured as the result.
- The Mark of Cain renders its host deathless, making the host a true immortal.
- According to Death, the Mark was created by God as both lock and key for the Darkness. However, in the episode O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Amara claims to be the original Mark. Which implies either the Mark has always been a part of her or in sealing her away, God somehow permanently made the Mark a part of her. When trying to seal her again, God was transferring the mark from The Darkness to Sam, suggesting the method for sealing her is to remove the Mark from The Darkness and transfer it to someone else. After she overpowered God, the Mark fully reappeared on her and vanished from Sam.
- It was later revealed that God used a spell to trap Amara in the Mark of Cain. Had the spell been used on God as well, it would also have trapped God inside a Mark, leaving it in question if the Mark is a byproduct of the spell or both God and Amara had their individual marks that could be used to trap them with the spell.
- The Mark is the only villain that is not a living being.
- It is unknown what would happen if somebody used the Mark of Cain Removal Spell on The Darkness.
- The Mark of Cain is the only canon object which also featured in three separate non-canonical materials: Supernatural: Cold Fire, Supernatural: Mythmaker, and Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices novel, as all of the novels take place in Season 10 period. However, the mark only play significant role in Supernatural: Cold Fire timeline only.
In the Abrahmic religions it is said that after killing Abel, God put a curse on Cain, saying that he would be forever separated from his family and live as a nomad. The mark of Cain was said to be placed on Cain by God so "Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him seven-fold, and the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would kill him." (Bible, Old testament Genesis 4-14)
- Season 9
- Season 10
- Season 11
- Season 15
- Supernatural: Cold Fire
- Supernatural: Mythmaker
- Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices