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A staple of works dealing with divine powers and the supernatural, Holy Water is a substance outwardly resembling regular water but provided with considerable power against evil entities.

While blessed or sacred water features in many real-life religions, its uses tend to be fairly sedate — typically, it's used in blessings, consecrations or self-purification, generally by using it to anoint someone or something or by drinking or bathing in it. This, however, isn't often quite dramatic enough for action-heavy works, and very difficult to meaningfully implement in games built chiefly around combat. Consequently, Holy Water tends to have its traditional power to ward off evil expanded into having it literally burn evil beings like acid, acting less like a sacramental and essentially more like a very exotic gun.

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Creatures generally taken to be pure evil and unnatural, especially demons, vampires and other forms The Undead, are the most likely to be depicted as vulnerable to Holy Water. Depending on the work, however, any evil or simply crooked person may have reason to fear blessed water.

On other occasions, Holy Water may retain more of its real-life associations and be used for things such as protecting places and characters against future or magical harm or to provide other blessings. In videogames, this may come in the form of it providing stat boosts.

May be used by the Church Militant, Vampire Hunter or Hunter of Monsters, or as part of Depleted Phlebotinum Shells.

Contrast Hellfire, Holy Water's opposite number in both elemental and sacred terms. See also Kill It with Water and Heal It with Water, both of which may overlap with uses of Holy Water.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blue Exorcist: Holy water acts like acid to demons, and so it also affects the half-demon main character. This leads to a rather amusing scene where the Exwires are soaked down with the stuff to protect them, and the person doing the soaking very purposefully avoids Rin, awkwardly explaining it as "He's allergic to holy water." Which is true, technically speaking. Later, it's revealed that holy water's creation doesn't involve much in the way of holiness, as it's synthesized from crystalized bits of Armumahel, giving it power to harm demons on the spiritual plane.
  • Chrono Crusade: Demons are weak to holy water. The bullets in Rosette's guns use holy water instead of an explosive charge and, in the anime, Chrono burns his hand once when he attempts to use it against a demonic enemy.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: In Chapter 11, when the party is attacked by a large group of spirits, Senshi makes some holy water on the fly by creatively interpreting the items they have on hand with any possible religious background and randomly throwing them together to create "deluxe multicultural holy water". He then ties the jar of it to a rope, and swings the holy water at the spirits like a flail to dispel them. It not only works, the jar is frozen (since the spirits are so cold), turning the holy water into tasty holy sorbet.

    Comic Books 
  • Athena Voltaire: In Athena Voltaire and the Vampire Queen, Athena kills the titular queen's daughters with a concealed vial of holy water, which causes them to burst into flame.
  • Hellblazer: An early arc has one of Constantine's friends die, his soul forfeit to the First of the Fallen. Said friend had made a Deal with the Devil to amass a collection of fine wines, and found a spring in Ireland blessed by Saint Patrick himself, which he used to magic to transform into the best beer Constantine ever tasted. As the First shows up to collect, John offers a toast... and once the Firt has drunk, upsets the pentacle, reverting the beer to holy water in the First's stomach before dropping him in the spring.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Holy items is in great demand on Resurrection because just about everyone is evil and fighting everyone else, making it a great weapon (for instance, a seraphim in a cage is considered the equivalent of an antimatter bomb). The Discordians (evil Reptilians with a Renaissance-England aesthetic) have a monopoly on holy water thanks to a pipeline that brings it in straight from the Vatican. Unfortunately, its powers have greatly diminished due to a number of Light Is Not Good-type scandals, most of it involving the Pedophile Priest.
  • In Top 10: The Forty-Niners, the Maid, a superpowered Joan of Arc expy, has various religious powers. In the climax, as Neopolis faces a mass attack by vampires, she turns the tide by blessing the city's reservoir, causing every hydrant in the city to give out holy water.
  • X-Men: During an encounter with an army of vampires, Cyclops arranges for a priest to bless Iceman, reasoning that any ice constructs he manufactures would then be made of frozen holy water.

    Comic Strips 
  • Nodwick: Piffany's favorite weapon against the undead is her trusty H2Oly Sacred Soaker. She also kills a giant demon with a lake full of holy water.
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    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Blessed water can wash away enchantments and dispel conjured equipment.
  • Snape's Worst Memory: Petunia splashes Severus with holy water when he accompanies them to the church, although it doesn't actually do anything to him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Constantine: Holy water burns the skin of half-demons and makes them much more vulnerable to attack.
  • In Dogma, Bethany has the power to consecrate things. She uses this during the fight with Azrael and his minions by blessing some nearby sinks, causing them to give out holy water, which burns Azrael's demonic minions.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn the preacher has lost faith in God and has to get it back so he can transform ordinary water into holy water so it can be used to fight off vampires.
  • In Hellboy (2004), Holy Water is one of the ingredients in the custom revolver rounds Hellboy creates for hunting demons, alongside white oak, silver shavings, and clover.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has the water in the Grail Chamber. Depending on whether it is drunk from the real Grail or one of the decoys, it will either give life or destroy it.
  • Van Helsing: The titular character dips his automatic crossbow drum into the holy water at a church to make the bolts more effective when firing at vampires.

    Jokes 
  • A classic one:
    Q: How do you make Holy Water?
    A: You boil the hell out of it.

    Literature 
  • Artemis Fowl: In the very first scene, we see Artemis blackmailing a fairy healer into giving him her copy of The Book of the People by poisoning her bottle of wine with holy water and offering an antidote in exchange for the book.
  • Ciaphas Cain: A priest helps to repel a demon by blessing some water and throwing it at it. It causes the demon's flesh to melt as if it had been covered in acid.
  • In Dead Beat, Harry uses holy water balloons against several Black Court vampires when he and Butters are ambushed. Evidently, he keeps a box of them in his car for just such an occasion.
  • Feet of Clay: Vimes claims the Watch made anti-vampire candles by soaking the wicks in holy water and letting the water evaporate, leaving only holiness. He's bluffing.
  • Fey: Holy water dissolves Fey. Even a cloth that's been stored close to some holy water turns out to be a slow killer. The twist is that holy water is only deadly to fey because a human who was desperate for a weapon threw some at an attacking fey, and inadvertently used a forgotten magic to transform it into a weapon that would only work against them.
  • Good Omens: Holy water, the real-life blessed-by-a-Christian-priest kind, is extremely dangerous to demons. Crowley handles a bucket of holy water like it's nuclear waste, and later uses it to kill his supervisor Ligur in a Bucket Booby-Trap.
  • Johannes Cabal:
    • Holy water is infused with divine power and reacts explosively with the presence of evil. On one occasion, Johannes deals with a powerful Evil Sorcerer by trapping him in running water and dragging a bishop out of bed to bless the entire river until the sorcerer explodes.
    • Inverted with unholy water, which is tainted by evil and inflicts nasty Soul Pains on anyone foolish enough to drink it. The Evil Sorcerer Umtak Ktharl is so depraved that his tomb transforms the pure mountain stream running through it into unholy water.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Holy water is used to fight against vampires, since it burns them like acid.
  • The Nekropolis Archives: Some types of Darkfolk, including demons and vampires, are burned by holy water, which as a result is highly illegal in Nekropolis, although some people with underworld connections are still able to get hold of it. The protagonist, Matthew Richter, sometimes arms himself with a squirt gun filled with holy water.
  • Summer of Night: The Big Bad... thing... is hurt by holy water. Its servants dismiss this as a habit picked up during its time in the Vatican, leaving open the question of whether Christianity or God really has anything to do with it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This is a recurring staple in both the original show and its spinoff Angel, where it affects vampires similarly to acid. "Helpless" shows holy water being used as Buffy's primary weapon as she is deprived of her powers and pitted against a particularly crazy vampire as a rite of passage on her eighteenth birthday. She defeats him by tricking him into taking some pills he's addicted to, washed down with holy water.
  • Good Omens: Holy water is presented as the opposite substance to Hellfire; whereas Hellfire is associated with Hell and will destroy angels, holy water is aligned with Heaven and will dissolve any demon that comes in contact with it. In both cases, it inflicts Final Death rather than "mere" discorporation.
  • Supernatural: Demons are highly susceptible to holy water, as you'd expect. In this instance, the characters make their own by blessing regular water with a rosary and a Latin chant.
    • One of Bobby's favorite tricks is beer with just a little bit of the stuff — if his visitor is human, they'll never even notice. If they're not, they burn. At one point, the main characters assault a building full of demons by consecrating the sprinkler system.
    • The season one episode "Salvation" sees John bless the contents of a rooftop water tower in preparation for a showdown with demons inside the building.
    • In season three's "Jus in Bello", Sam and Dean are held in a cell in a police station, which is then besieged by demons. They prepare for battle by holifying the only water avaiable: the toilet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chivalry And Sorcery: Holy Water causes 1d10 Hit Points of damage when it touches Evil creatures (meaning undead and lycanthropes) and 1-20 Hit Points of damage to demons.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Holy water is created when a follower of a benevolent deity infuses regular water with positive energy, and harms evil planar creatures and undead (including non-evil ones, though those are rare to begin with, because all undead are animated by negative energy). It's also used as part of the resurrection spell, and some people make use of club-like devices known as aspergilliums crafted to hold small quantities of holy water and release it at the press of a button. It varies with the edition, but the damage inflicted isn't very high unless large quantities are used, and holy water is expensive. Thus it is less useful as a weapon than as a quick mean of identifying undead or fiends that could be masquerading as ordinary, living people.
    • It also has an opposite in the form of unholy water, created when followers of evil gods infuse water with negative energy.
    • The first layer of The Seven Heavens of Mount Celestia is surrounded by an ocean of holy water. Since it's impossible to enter the plane without first going through the first layer, it makes for an effective defense against fiends.
  • Mordheim: Blessed Water is pure water consecrated by a priest of one of the Empire's gods so that it burns creatures of darkness. Most commonly used by the Sisters of Sigmar, and the Warrior-Priests that accompany Witch Hunter warbands, Blessed Water can be thrown at an Undead, Daemon or Possessed model to cause automatic damage if it hits.
  • Pathfinder: Holy water is defined as water blessed by a cleric or oracle sworn to a Good-aligned deity; besides burning fiends and the undead like acid, it's also used to consecrate areas against evil magic and in liturgical ceremonies. The worshippers of Cayden Cailean, the god of adventurers and alcohol, are known to also bless alcoholic beverages in this manner.

    Video Games 
  • The Binding of Isaac: Holy Water is a passive item that causes a bottle of water to spawn behind Isaac and follow him around like a familiar. Taking damage will break the bottle and create a puddle of water that harms non-flying enemies.
  • In Board Game Online, one of the items that can be purchased at the Church is a vial of Holy Water, which the player can drink to cure themselves of the various curses they can get inflicted with during the course of the game. It can also be used against enemies in certain events, like mummies, ghosts, and zombies.
  • Castlevania: Holy water is a recurring weapon that bursts into flames when thrown, dealing damage to any enemies it comes into contact with. It even serves as the down special for both Simon and Richter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where it hurts everyone, including both other instances of Simon and Richter and angelic and divine characters like Pit and Palutena, regardless of the character's morality.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Holy Water item causes minor damage to heroes suffering from the Crimson Curse, and provides uninfected heroes with a buff.
  • Devil May Cry: Holy Water has been a standard item throughout the series. It blasts all Mooks nearby when used, and takes a good chunk out of any boss's health-meter. Handy on the lower difficulty-levels, a vital resource on the higher ones.
  • Dragalia Lost: Holy water is a common material that is used to upgrade wyrmprints. Each bottle grants 500 exp to a single wyrmprint.
  • Dragon Quest: Throughout the series holy water is a consumable item that acts as Encounter Repellent against monsters weaker than the party; in games with Random Encounters it prevents them from occurring, in games with Preexisting Encounters it prevents them from spawning or makes them avoid contact at lower levels than without using it. In some games it can also be used in battle to deal a minuscule amount of damage to a single monster.
  • Fire Emblem: Pure Water, which is called "Holy Water" in Japan, is an item that will give the user increased resistance when consumed.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV has Holy Water as an item. It can be used either to buff the hero drinking it with the spells "Bless" and "Death Ward" or to injure The Undead. Humorously, an Undead Hero can drink it and get the bonuses with no ill effects. At one point in Gauldoth Half-Dead's campaign, Gauldoth, a Necromancer, threatens to punish a ghost by making it swim through holy water after the ghost makes disobedient remarks about Gauldoth's master Kalibarr.
  • Magic and Mayhem: Holy water is an artefact that casts the bury spell when used, destroying undead creatures within range that don't make their saving throw.
  • In NetHack, holy water is one of the most crucial items for its function in blessing and uncursing objects and equipment — something nearly every successful character will need to use extensively during the game. Unholy water sees some applications as well: sometimes you need to un-bless things. Priests start the game with four vials of it, and other classes may create it by among other ways, diluting other potions into water, then dropping them on a co-aligned altar and praying.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: In terms of damage per hit, the Holy Water in the Chalice is the most powerful weapon in the game.
  • RuneScape:
    • After completing "Legend's Quest", the player can bless water from a spring in Karamja to create a throwable weapon that has increased accuracy against Demons (as well as a damage boost against some of the weaker types).
    • As revealed in the Vampyre quest line, the River Salve was blessed by Saradominist forces to keep the majority of the Vampyres trapped in Morytania. The blessing is weakened by a coalition of Zamorakian and rogue Saradominist forces, but the player eventually succeeds in strengthening it with Guthixian aid.
    • The Temple of Mort'ton minigame requires players to build and maintain a temple against an endless wave of ghasts in order to sanctify olive oil for the purposes of building funeral pyres for the physical bodies of the ghasts (as well as humans who have been infected by vampyrism) to put their souls to rest. It's also used to prepare a canopic jar in "Curse of Arrav".
    • At one point in "Dimension of Disaster", the player needs to help a disillusioned zombified priest to bless some cooking oil for use in an improvised canopic jar.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: In the episode "Night of the Raving Dead", Sam and Max challenge the vampire Jurgen to a rap battle. However, every time they perform, Jurgen bites Max and copies the routine which results in him winning. To prevent this, the duo have to take some bottle water, turn it into holy water, and have Max drink it before performing. Upon doing this, Jurgen experiences stomach craps once he bites Max which results in him losing the rap battle and some of his popularity with the zombies.
  • Thief: Holy water-doused arrows are by far the most effective weapon against the undead, although they're extremely rare.
  • In World of Warcraft, you can find holy water in crates inside Startholme instance. It hurts the undead.

    Webcomics 
  • Casey and Andy: One storyline sees Satan squares off against another demon... and he's packing a squirt-gun. As it turns out, it's filled with holy water blessed by a dying pope on Easter Sunday directly over the holy sarcophagus of St. Peter.
  • Imp: Holy water is stated to nullify imp's Healing Factor.
  • Mystery Babylon: One of the three gifts which Red gives to Zero is a squirt bottle full of holy water, which is painful to demons like Kick Girl and Kill Boy.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017) : Water blessed by a priest is a potent weapon against demons and vampires alike, which it burns and dissolves. However, it requires someone with true faith and God's favor to do so — something the Corrupt Church has long since lost. Trevor is able to get a parish priest to bless some water to use against the demonic invaders of Gresit, while in "The River" Carmilla has the Bishop's reanimated corpse bless the entire river the castle appeared in the middle of; this causes the demon-tainted corpse to burn away to nothing, but also sets a deadly trap for the vampiric army that gets thrown in the drink by a collapsing bridge.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz", Peter's father Francis tries to get Stewie baptized, but is refused by the church's stuff because their supply of holy water is tainted (due to a priest who didn't wash his hands). Francis decides to preform the baptism himself, insisting there's no such thing as tainted holy water, which results in Stewie becoming sick.
    • In an early gag, a New Yorker in church insults Peter's favorite football team. Peter calls it blasphemy and throws a bottle of holy water at him, and he collapses, screaming that it burns. Cut to a scientist in a lab opening a package.
      Scientist: Holy water? Where's that acid I ordered?
  • The Simpsons: In "Viva Ned Flanders", Moe comes to the mistaken conclusion that the secret of Ned's youthful appearance is holy water; he splashes some in his face and immediately wails "Aagh, it burns!"

    Real Life 
  • Blessed water has a role in numerous Abrahamic faiths, although its use in Christianity is the most widespread and notorious in Western culture.
    • In Christianity, holy water is defined as water that has been blessed by an ordained priest during a specific ceremony. While holy water is used in exorcisms or to ward off evil influences, its primary uses are a lot less dramatic — blessed water is often used in baptisms and blessings or sprinkled during Mass. In Catholic churches it's common to keep basins of it for worshippers to dip their fingers into before crossing themselves when entering the church, and some adherents of Eastern churches drink holy water to purify themselves. That being said, it's often assigned considerable power in popular superstition — it was common in the middle ages for people to steal holy water to use in occult ceremonies.
    • There are very specific rules concerning holy water's production, keeping and disposal. To begin with, only pure water can be blessed — regular rain or river water cannot usually be made holy, and seawater never can. Holy water can also be extended by mixing it with regular, purified water, but only if the latter is lesser in volume than that which is already blessed. Holy water cannot be disposed of down regular plumbing, but must be poured out onto the ground, either directly or through specially made basins.
    • The Book of Numbers describes how women accused of infidelity would be made to drink a special mixture of water and dust. If they were guilty, this would make them miscarry any future pregnancy; if they were innocent, nothing would happen.
    • Certain Islamic traditions prescribe the drinking of healing water, generally either mixed with dust from sacred locations, blessed by an imam or both, to cure sicknesses of the body and of the soul.
  • In Ancient Greece, holy water was called chernips, created by extinguishing a torch from a shrine in a basin of regular water, and used to bless places and people.
  • Buddhist traditions often make use of blessed water for a variety of purposes.
    • Mahayana Buddhists create blessed water by reciting sutras over it, and usually either drink it or use it to bless homes.
    • Theravada Buddhists bless water through certain specific ceremonies, and afterwards keep it around the home. Oil can also be blessed in this manner.
  • In Hinduism, holy water generally comes from already holy sources, most notably the Ganges River, and is ritually bathed in for self-purification.
  • Wicca uses blessed water in several ceremonies, and adherents typically create it by stirring blessed salt into a ritually purified bowl.

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