The ladder (or staircase) is symbolic of the connection between HEAVEN and EARTH. It represents progress, ascenscion, and spiritual passage through the levels of initiation. In the Bible, Jacob's ladder established contact between man and God, and there are seven rungs on the ladder of virtue. It can also connote ambition, as in the gradual acquisition of knowledge, as well as overcoming a problem.
According to Freud, the ladder has dream connections with the sexual act. In
modern folklore, walking under a ladder is considered bad luck.
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