© 2011 Bruce Johnson – Reprinted with permission from Shining Lotus Metaphysical Bookstore Newsletter August 2011.
by Bruce Johnson
Chapter 28 in the Book of Genesis tells the story of Jacob’s journey to Haran and his mystical dream while sleeping with a stone as a pillow. Jacob dreamt of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending the ladder. The symbolism of the Ladder to Paradise is universal, and is referred to in many ancient and modern religions.
The ladder, like the step pyramid, links the earth plane to the realms of spirit through a series of rungs or levels, often seven in number. Each rung or level indicates a plane of life, a spiritual initiation, a planetary sphere, a color ray, a musical note, and a step into a higher plane of conscious awareness. Above the highest step of the ladder is God, or the cosmic consciousness one gains by ascending beyond the top rung of the Ladder of Life.
Like Jacob, the Biblical seer Enoch saw the Kingdom of Heaven in a vision, along with its divisions. He was lifted up on a cloud, as the wind raised him into the uppermost levels of the Celestial Worlds. After leaving Jerusalem on their famous night journey, the Prophet Mohammed and the angel Gabriel visited each of the seven heavens. They flew to each of the heavens and met and talked with the prophets of God who dwelt on each level. They then entered Paradise, and Mohammed experienced the joy possible for the one attuned to Allah, before they returned to the earth plane. Allegorically, Mohammed was said to have climbed a “Ladder of Silken Cords”.
The Egyptian sun- god Horus set up a ladder to the Crystal Heaven and surmounted the physical world. Buddhist teachings include a ladder of different colored rungs that symbolize the seven planetary spheres above Earth. The initiates into the mysteries of Mithra climbed a seven-rung planetary ladder, with every rung made from a different metal. Shamans of northern Europe substituted a pole with seven notches for the seven- rung ladder of the ancients. Rosicrucian’s and Kabbalist’s have their own forms of the Ladder of Spiritual Ascent, with each rung corresponding to one of the seven sacred planets. Occult symbolism shows Jacob’s ladder as the spine, with the seven rungs as the major chakras.
Bruce Johnson has over 30 years of study in the fields of Ancient Wisdom and occultism. He has taught classes on a wide range of topics, from Atlantis to mediums to Zoroaster. He is also a spiritualist minister, with a background in spiritual astrology. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their cat.