|“||The Shadow. The thing that rules the Empty.||„|
The Shadow controls the Empty, and that the realm existed before God or the Darkness. When immortal beings die, they go to the Empty where they eternally slumber, allowing the Shadow to do the same. If even one of its charges is awake, the Shadow is awakened as well and left in pain until the awakened being is asleep again or removed from the Empty.
While the Shadow possesses a true form, it is unknown what it looks like as it instills insanity in demons and angels. He can manipulate the Empty to alter his appearance. The Shadow appears to prefer to take on forms that will best taunt its opponents or best fit the situation, initially choosing to appear to Castiel as a duplicate of Castiel himself and then later taking on the form of the demon Meg due to Castiel seeking the demon Ruby. The Shadow later uses Meg's form again in its attempt to speak with Billie, telling Sam that its borrowing its form "because really, I'm empty." After being caught in Jack's explosion and reforming, the Shadow immediately takes on Meg's form once again.
The Shadow is highly mysterious, aloof and detached entity, spending eternity just sleeping in the Empty and extremely rarely leaving his domain until he find a reason to do so. Originally, The Shadow was shown to utilize highly cynical sarcasm when meeting individuals, as shown with his meeting with Castiel. It showed frustration at its failures to break his spirit in an attempt to get him to give up on wanting to live again to get him to return to his slumber.
When this did not work, it attacked him out of frustration and called him worthless, which proved unsuccessful. The Shadow was very angry at Castiel's defiant attitude but finally complied in annoyance, to resurrect Castiel to be able to return to its slumber. This shows that the Shadow is somewhat impatient.
Powers and Abilities
|“||I'm the only one that has any pull here. Not Heaven, not Hell, not G-O-D himself.||„|
|— The Shadow|
Being the supreme ruler of the Empty, the Shadow possesses immeasurable supernatural power, allowing it to do almost anything it wishes within its own realm. The Shadow has also shown to be extremely powerful outside of the Empty, easily overpowering angels after invading Heaven, killing Reapers after raiding Death's Library, and eliminating Death herself without the aid of anything. While the Shadow overall power isn't as great as God or the Darkness, his huge size -- which encompasses everything beyond the universes that God created -- enables it to survive even those cosmic attacks that would threaten the existence of those two supreme beings.
- Nigh-Omnipotence (At least within the Empty) - The Shadow has the power to do practically anything and has complete control over the Empty. The Shadow claims that not even God has strings on the Empty and all within it, though this claim appears to have been "sweet little lies". The Empty is noted by Death to be "vast". It is at least equal as fully-powered Death, and easily overpowered and killed him when he was weakened. It is not as strong as God or The Darkness however.
- Reality Warping - The Shadow is able to create matter out of nothing as it fully rebuilt Castiel's vessel, which was previously burned and destroyed with no visible damage leftover. When he attacked Heaven, the Shadow broke open all of the gates, even the ones sealed by Metatron's unbreakable spell with ease.
- Resurrection - The Shadow was able to resurrect Castiel, returning him to Earth in the process.
- Possession - While in Heaven, the Shadow was able to possess all of the surviving angels, essentially consuming them as seen with Naomi and Duma and turning the angels into its vessels. When the Shadow left their bodies, Duma at least had no memory of the experience but the angels were left otherwise unharmed.
- Flight - After leaving Duma's vessel, the Shadow's true form flew into an air vent in a house within Heaven before returning to The Empty.
- Shapeshifting - Due to its terrifying true form, the Shadow takes on the form of the being it is speaking to, though it speaks with a distinct voice instead of mimicking the being's voice. In The Empty, it changed from its true form to Castiel's visage when speaking to him and before pursuing him, it changed from a puddle of black ooze and took on a vague humanoid form to walk around The Empty. When possessing Duma, the Shadow briefly altered the appearance of her face to that of it's true face before reverting back to Duma's appearance. However, it seems powerful beings like Jack and Billie are able to see it in its true form. The Shadow later takes on the form of the demon Meg to communicate with Castiel when he comes in search of Ruby going so far as to wear the same outfit Meg had on when she died. When going to speak with Billie, the Shadow continues to use Meg's form, stating that its "because really, I'm empty," referring to its general lack of a real form. After reforming from Jack's explosion, the Shadow immediately shifted into the form of Meg once again.
- Incomprehensible Strength - The Shadow was able to effortlessly overpower and beat Castiel. When it attacked Heaven, the Shadow effortlessly defeated all of the remaining angels. The Shadow was also able to overpower and strangled Jack to the point that he was briefly unconscious with no effort.
- Telekinesis - The Shadow was able to stop Jack by raising its hand towards him. It was also able to kill several Reapers by snapping their necks with telekinesis. After surviving Jack's explosion, the Shadow easily pulled Jack to him.
- Telepathy - In order to learn more about Castiel, the Shadow painfully dug through his memories. The Shadow later used this power to show him some of his most painful memories in an effort to convince Castiel that he was worthless and should go back to sleep.
- Biokinesis - While Castiel was in the Empty, the Shadow was able to torture the Seraphim simply by clenching its hand. It later did the same Sam in Death's Reading Room.
- Clairsentience - The Shadow was able to sense Sam's presence in Death's Reading Room despite him being out of its line of sight.
- Teleportation- The Shadow has the ability to go anywhere in the realms of the afterlife. It was able to transverse both Heaven and Death's Reading Room. It appears that this is not absolute because it states the inability to go to Earth without being summoned, though The Shadow implied this was due to God causing this limitation.
- Apporting - With just a snap of its fingers, the Shadow was able to teleport Sam Winchester from across the room to right in front of it.
- Portal Creation - After Castiel finally allows his deal to come due, the Shadow opens a portal from the Empty into a bunker to suck him and Billie in.
- Absorption - The Shadow, once summoned by Castiel, was able to absorb and subsequently kill Billie and Castiel by manifesting and impaling both of them with shadowy tendrils that turned their forms into the same shadowy liquid before pulling the tendrils and subsequently the two of them into the Empty.
- Immortality - The Shadow has been around for a very long time, since at least before angels, and is immune to aging and disease. At one point, The Shadow called Castiel "kiddo" implying that it is older than the angel. He can possibly be even older than others Pre-existential.
- Nigh-Invulnerability - The Shadow cannot be killed or harmed by any known weapon. Despite being weaker than God and the Darkness, the Death and Billie stated that it's "vast" enough to survive the full force of Jack's bomb explosion which could kill even those two primordial beings. Indeed, although the explosion destroyed the Shadow's physical form, it does survive Jack's explosion, although it appeared weakened.
- Regeneration - After Jack's detonation, the Shadow was able to reform itself although it appeared to be weakened by the experience.
- Nigh-Omniscience - The Shadow has a certain level of cosmic awareness: it knows about the world and what happened before its creation, as it knew about The Darkness and her human name. It was also able to detect Jack's death and knew to find his soul in Heaven. While possessing Duma, the Shadow was able to perfectly mimic her behavioral mannerisms and personality. Even Castiel hadn't noticed that Duma was possessed, until the Shadow revealed itself. It also knew the nickname that Meg gave Castiel when masquerading as her before revealing its true identity. The Shadow knew who Sam was after he entered Death's Library, and it detected the moment that Castiel had finally admitted his love for Dean and thus experienced a moment of true happiness which automatically summoned it to take him as per their deal; it also knew that Billie was there so it could absorb her as well. As with other cosmic beings, though, the Shadow's knowledge of things isn't perfect; even it couldn't figure out why Castiel had awoken from his death in what it considers "all of forever."
|“||The Empty was supposed to be mine. Not even God held sway. But lies, sweet little lies.||„|
|— The Shadow|
Despite its immense power, the Shadow does have some limits in what it's capable of doing. Although it is the ruler of the Empty, it has a few weaknesses as well. It is also described by Billie as not being as powerful as God or the Darkness.
- Awakening of The Empty Inhabitants - As long as the inhabitants of the Empty sleep, so does The Shadow itself. However, if even a single inhabitant is awake, it also wakes up the Shadow from its sleep. Finally despite having near-absolute control over the Empty, the Shadow lacks the ability to force something that has awakened in the Empty back to sleep and must either convince them to return to sleep on their own or expel them.
- Sleep Deprivation - Being in deep slumber since before all existence, the Shadow can be severely disturbed if it cannot rest. Castiel claimed that, while he could not beat the Shadow, he could stay awake to lay pressure on it. Having waking inhabitants in the Empty also causes it pain.
- Higher beings - According to Billie, the Empty is not as powerful as God or the Darkness. God himself has been blocking the Shadow from invading Earth, perhaps from time immemorial; the Shadow can only surpass that obstacle if it is summoned. The Shadow's deal with Castiel also acts as a loophole to this as once he is truly happy, it summons the Shadow to take him. The Shadow's claim that not even God had any sway over its domain seems to be false, as God was able to resurrect Castiel many times, and then did the same to Lilith. In addition, Billie, though overall inferior to the Shadow in total strength, was able to bring Jack from the Empty twice; while the first time obviously counted with the Shadow's consent, as they formed an axis against God, the second time clearly went against the Shadow's desire to hold and hurt Jack. The Shadow later admits that its claim that not even God had power in the Empty was "sweet little lies." In addition, its powers are limited outside of the Empty as it cannot go to Earth unless directly summoned though it appears to be able to visit Heaven.
- Magic - There are wardings that can stop the Shadow from entering places where the symbols are put up.
- Jack Kline - Although the Shadow has proven to be able to survive the explosion of Jack after he had became a "metaphysical supernova" that could kill even God and the Darkness, Billie stated that it would still have sufficient impact on the Shadow for it to be angry at her for having Jack explode in the Empty and indeed the Shadow's physical form was destroyed and despite being able to regenerate, it appears visibly weakened and horrified, stating Jack made it loud.
The Shadow was born from the nothingness that existed before even Ayin. It later made that nothingness into its home, calling it "the Empty".
Myths and Legends
- The Shadow claimed that its true form induces complete insanity, even to angels.
- Billie indicates that the Shadow may be the embodiment of the Empty itself.
- The Shadow's state of eternal sleep and maddening appearance shares similarities to two Lovecraftian beings, specifically Azathoth and the Magnum Innominandum. Azathoth represents the Entity's madness-inducing state, eternal sleep, and existing outside creation. The Nameless Mist represents the initial appearance of the Entity.
- Some religions have similar structure to what the Shadow is.
- Chaos, a primordial deity of void and nothingness in Greek mythology, which was described as a dark void predating the creation of the universe and the cosmos.
- Nun in Egyptian mythology, which predated everything and created or from which the deities came from.
- Amatsu-Mikaboshi in Japanese Shinto Mythology, was originally a Shinto god of the Pole Star and the primordial chaos.
- Ginnungagap from the Norse Creation Myth, was the primordial void/mist in which the nine realms and the Yggdrasil, the world tree, which connects all the realms, float in.