Ladders can materialize in our dreams in many surprising ways. Ladders in dreams are typically a symbol regarding goals and aspirations.
Understanding this, we can go into the many different ladder dream meanings and find insight on how to apply the wisdom of this symbol in your everyday life.
What Does it Mean to Dream About a Ladder?
In dreams, ladders can be a symbol for reaching new heights. These heights are a metaphor for where we wish to be.
Your goals can be related to your career, your relationships, your spirituality, or even your own personal self-development goals.
In addition to goals, there are several other possible meanings for the ladder symbol. Below we will share a few common themes we see when we interpret dreams about ladders.
The ladder is often seen as a very spiritual symbol, especially as it is frequently cited in Biblical stories such as Jacob's Ladder. This story is very popular and has even influenced many songs and movies as a result, such as the song Jacob's Ladder by the band Rush.
A ladder can manifest as a bridge between one realm into another. For many people, a ladder may seem to be a connecting element between earth and the heavens.
It is not uncommon if you ever experience a visitation dream or practice guided meditation to have visions of a ladder.
Others believe a ladder to be a symbol of achieving higher knowledge and wisdom. It is what connects us from ignorance to enlightenment.
Many people also associate this with bridging the gap between darkness and light, where darkness is the negative parts of self and light is the positive parts of self.
We cannot be only darkness or only light, but rather must find a way to balance the good and the bad in all of our dealings. Ladder dreams can indicate it is time for you to take the steps necessary to find this balance in life.
Finding Success in Your Goals
Many people associate ladders with success and achievement. Many times where you are in relation to the ladder in a dream often is a symbol for your progress in reaching a specific goal in your life.
All goals and aspirations require effort in order to be reached, and so it's important to remember we cannot achieve great things if we stay on the ground.
In order to successfully get to the top, we must be willing to take the steps and do the work.
If you are working on goals in your current life, ask yourself: Am I doing the work? Am I getting where I want to be? Am I willing to stay on task to follow the steps to reach my goals?
Ladders can also be sometimes be a symbol for your social status. If you are low on the ladder, it means there are others who are potentially "higher" or better than you. If you are high on the ladder, it means you are someone others look up to or aspire to be.
In our society we often have to deal with society and some people clearly have more advantages than others. If you feel like you are not doing well compared to others around you, you may have dreams of being stuck on a low step of the ladder or not being able to climb up it easily.
Work and Service
Sometimes dreaming of ladders can mean that you are very busy and occupied with work or service to others. Ladders are very important tools for a number of occupations, such as electricians, fire responders, carpenters, builders and other service based careers.
If you dream of someone needing to use a ladder to repair an item or carrying a ladder to a job site, it can mean that you will have an easier time reaching your goals if you utilize the tools around you or ask others for help.
While it's tempting to want to do everything independently on your own, having some help through the use of tools or asking others for assistance can make it much more possible to achieve all of your goals.
Types of Ladders and What They Mean as a Symbol
Many people do not realize this, but there are many different types and styles of ladders. Some ladders are used for climbing very tall places, such as the kind you might see on a boom truck or fire truck. Others may be only 2 steps high, such as a step stool.
The style of ladder you find, how the ladder is used, and even what the ladder is made of can indicate what the dream is about.
Dreaming of a Wooden Ladder
A wooden ladder can be a symbol for old-fashioned values and traditions. You may be thinking of past accomplishments or failures.
Wooden ladders can also sometimes be a symbol for someone from a different time period than you, such as a late grandfather who may have worked as a painter or carpenter.
Dreaming of Using a Ladder to Climb a Tree
People who pick apples and other fruits from orchards know that it can be a lot easier to do if you have a ladder to help you reach the fruit!
If you dream of climbing a ladder to reach the fruit on a tree, this can mean that you are close to being able to enjoy the results of all of your hard work and efforts.
Beach or Lifeguard Chair With Ladder
Dreaming of a ladder at the beach can mean that you are uncertain about your current decisions in life or that you feel like you would like someone else to help with your responsibilities.
You may feel vulnerable or feel that there is someone else who is making all the rules or feel that you are not appreciated for your hard work.
Dreaming of a Book Ladder at the Library
If you dream of a library with books that tower so tall you need to climb to reach them, it can be a symbol for your quest for higher knowledge or understanding in a situation.
You may be trying to find answers for something that is currently puzzling you in life. It can also mean that you are becoming more aware of your own spiritual wisdom.
See related dream symbols:
Ladder Dream Interpretation Examples
Now that we've covered the 4 primary themes that present themselves, let's take a look at these examples to see how we can apply the ladder dream meaning to our lives in a practical way.
Dreaming of Falling Off a Ladder
If you dream of falling off a ladder, it can mean that you are experiencing setbacks and delays in reaching your goals. You may be dealing with feelings of regret or disappointment. You may feel as if you are not good enough or that you do not belong with others.
Identifying how this relates to you in your everyday life can make it much easier for you to understand your situation and what you can do to change it.
For example, if you are feeling like you keep getting passed over on a promotion at work, you may want to look at your situation more carefully. Are you showing up for work on time and prepared? Do you go above and beyond what is expected of you or do you barely scrape by in finishing projects on a deadline?
If after exploring your dream and your own behavior and you are not doing the work to be a desirable candidate for a promotion, you can try to put in the extra effort so that your results will be better the next time a promotion is available.
Conversely, if after the dream you reflect on your current attempts and realize it is a futile effort to attempt to make progress with your current company, you can start filling out applications and sending resumes to interview with other companies that may offer better opportunities for advancement.
Dreaming of Descending Down a Ladder
Sometimes in a dream we will start at the top and see ourselves climbing down a ladder in a dream. In these cases it can mean that you have done something that you are embarrassed by or that makes you feel inferior to others. This can sometimes be a symbol for insecurities about your own self-worth and value.
If you have this dream, you may want to consider recent events that may have caused others to think less of you - or even if there is something you feel guilty about that may make you feel like you are less of a person.
Once you identify the recent event or situation that caused you to have a lower self-image, you can work on different techniques to help you build up your confidence and practice self care and self love.
Broken Ladder Dream Meaning
If you see a broken ladder in your dream, it can mean that you have failed or that you feel very disconnected from your higher self and spiritual awareness.
To see it crashing to the ground can mean that you are experiencing financial setbacks or that your quest for success has done irreversible damage to your relationships with others.
A dreamer dreamt that he and his wife were sitting up high over a grassy field. Suddenly she began to climb down the ladder and as she stepped the ladder wobbled and crashed to the ground. She escaped unharmed, but the ladder was in shards.
In this case, the dreamer was spending a lot of time at work and only focused on his own needs. He and his wife had become very distant over the past years and recently filed for divorce.
While it is difficult to fix mistakes from our past, we can usually learn from them. The dreamer is not able to get his wife back, but recognizing it was his own quest for success and ego that caused the relationship to end can help him prevent this from happening in future relationships.
Common Ladder Sayings and Phrases
Sometimes in our dreams different sayings and phrases will appear quite literally! In the United Sates, we live in a culture of idioms and expressions, so it is important to consider these possibilities when you see a ladder appearing in your dreams.
Corporate Ladder Dream Meaning
"Climb the corporate ladder" is a popular saying and phrase related to career and work.
It was once believed that you could start working somewhere as a janitor or mailroom clerk and work your way all the way to the top of the company.
Sadly, today's view of the corporate ladder is a very negative one, especially as more employees feel abused and taken advantage of.
Many people use this saying to indicate feelings of being stepped on or being manipulated by their co-workers. It can mean that one is ruthless in their business dealings, with little concern about the welfare or impact of others.
If you are thinking about a career change or have been offered a promotion at work, this can be a sign that you should explore your feelings about accepting the job offer or switching careers.
Low Man on the Ladder / Bottom of the Ladder
This phrase means that you are of lower social rank and are not important to others. If you dream of being on the bottom rung of the ladder or that others have climbed ahead of you, it is likely related to how you feel about your own self-worth and how others may perceive you.
To be at the bottom of the ladder means you will have to work hard to prove yourself to someone or to prove your worth to others. The bottom of the ladder can also be a symbol for new beginnings or starting over again after a recent loss or change.
At the Top of the Ladder
Just as being at the bottom means you are of lower status and rank, being at the top can mean that you are of a higher status or rank.
Often times the person at the top of the ladder is in charge of a large organization or project. They may be a good leader, or they may not be.
If you dream of yourself being at the top of a ladder it may be a good time to reflect on how you treat others and how you can strengthen others to be able to eventually succeed in their own climb upwards.
Chutes and Ladders
Chutes and Ladders is an iconic board game for kids where you can either move ahead climbing ladders on the board or you can fall down a chute and wind up farther behind from everyone else. A popular variation of this game is "Snakes and Ladders" where snakes are used in place of the chutes.
If you dream of this game or dream that you are climbing up a ladder to go down a sliding board or find yourself being bitten by a snake, it can be a symbol that you are getting your hopes up too high or that you are not prepared for the inevitable ups and downs that may happen.
Did you have a dream about a ladder? What do you think it means? Share your dream experiences and ladder dream interpretation in the comments section below!