Ladders have a lot of symbolism outside of our dreams. You have probably come across several phrases which involve “climbing a ladder,” whether that’s in your professional life where you are making progress in your career, getting onto a “ladder” in the housing market, or where your reputation grows or suffers.
But what does dreaming of ladders mean?
The Ladder as a Dream Symbol
Ladders are neither a positive nor a negative dream symbol, and they tend to be fairly neutral. That is, until you dream of climbing up, or down a ladder, or dream of an accident involving a ladder.
The most common dreams of ladders involve climbing up a ladder, in which case you feel you’re at a good place in life where you’re making progress, but it can also be a sign of future advancement in your career.
As you might imagine, dreaming of descending a ladder, or falling off a ladder, is not a great sign. You may feel you are going backwards in an area of your life, or you will suffer a setback in one or more areas of your waking life.
Here are some of the most common underlying themes which can cause you to dream of ladders.
Dreaming of ladders can be reflective of how you’re concentrating on all the wrong things.
You may be going through a stressful period in your life, where anxieties or problems just seem to keep stacking up, one after the other.
This can make situations far more difficult than they need to be, as your concentration is focused on snowballing your perception of what may go wrong, rather than how you can make things less stressful.
You may be entirely focused on comparing your progress to those around you, and how much they have achieved.
This rarely has a happy ending, as you cannot see what hardships they’ve been through to get where they are, and it may seem like it’s just you who is struggling.
This dream may be telling you to focus only on yourself, for now. Examine any long-held goals that you haven’t had time to work on, and devote even just five minutes a day, envisioning how you can get there.
Ladders can also signify what you want out of the future. This is more of an introspective dream where you’re looking towards the future, rather than where you are now.
A single ladder can represent your ‘ideal’ place in life, having achieved your long-term goals, and pushed through any obstacles to get there.
You Have a Lot of Work Ahead of You
A ladder appearing in your dream signifies that you will have to put a lot of effort in, in the near future. You may have to put in a lot of overtime to get a specific project to the finish line, or problems may stack up one after another and while you would normally cope fine, they could overwhelm you all at once.
Maybe a colleague will hamper your progress, whether that’s knowingly sabotaging your time or project, or because they need your input with something.
Perhaps it’s something that only you can get done, and while you’ll be glad to get it out of the way, your other obligations will be shouting at you in the background.
If you dream of looking upward at a ladder, this reflects your concerns that a project will take a very long time to get completed, or you’ll be impatient for things to sort themselves out.
An Epiphany, or Spiritual Understanding
Ladders are also a spiritual dream symbol. It indicates that you will soon come to a great realization, which will change the course of your life, and your outlook as a whole.
This could be a brand-new experience, perhaps a lifelong dream which you will get to fulfill.
It may start off as a tricky situation or just plain bad luck, but it will change things for the better. Once you are through to the other side of this situation, things will look up.
Dreaming of ladders can suggest that your beliefs will change significantly somewhere in the future. Something may put your beliefs to the test, and you may find them wanting.
Where they sustained you before in difficult situations, allowing you a place where you could find reconciliation or comfort, you will find yourself adapting to a different perspective.
Types of Ladders and What They Mean in Your Dream
The type of ladder that you see within your dream can also change its meaning completely.
Dreaming of a Step Ladder
A step ladder appearing in your dream is largely a positive sign for the future. It’s a reassuring message that what you’ve been working towards in waking life is only a short way ahead of you, as the step ladder physically has only a few rungs.
This could be a promotion that you’ve had your sights set on for a while, and soon the right people will notice your dedication and hard work.
Perhaps you’re working towards a goal in your personal life with a creative project, or making some improvements to benefit your health.
Whatever you may have chosen to work on, this dream is a very good indication that your goal isn’t far off, as long as you keep going.
A Wooden Ladder Appearing in Your Dream
Wooden ladders appearing in your dream suggest that you’ll soon err in your job, whether you work for yourself or a company, and it may cost you dearly.
The good news is that this ladder is a warning sign, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to avoid making this significant mistake in the first place.
Alternatively, dreaming of a wooden ladder can point to success in an area you’d never before considered or dreamed of. Maybe you have a latent natural talent, and you’ll discover it by accident.
Wood in dreams also points to the importance of being grounded, having a connection with the natural world and your surroundings.
Dreaming of a Scaffolding Ladder
If you dream of a ladder attached to scaffolding, this can point to a situation which will seem great at first, but it will slowly dissolve into difficulty, or it will be a non-starter.
This may refer to a relationship, which starts off well, but soon you’ll notice cracks starting to show. Perhaps they won’t compromise on a situation which is very important to you, or it will be a dealbreaker going forward.
If you’ve been making progress towards a long-term project or dream, don’t panic. This may be referring to a different aspect of your life, which has nothing to do with how hard you’ve worked so far to get to this goal.
Or, it could reference a lifelong dream, which won’t live up to your expectations that have built up over a significantly long period of time. Perhaps you’ll enjoy the journey more than the destination.
Dreaming of a Lifeguard Ladder Seat
Dreaming of a lifeguard seat suggests that you need to take a break and notice what’s going on around you. There may be something important that you’re missing, or perhaps you just want to feel more grounded.
Alternatively, dreaming of a lifeguard ladder implies that you’re looking for guidance in one or more areas of your life. Maybe you feel you haven’t made the right choice in waking life, and you want some reassurance.
It could be that you feel you cannot ask anyone for their opinion because you suspect they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear, rather than the truth.
Maybe other people in your life are too close to the situation you want another opinion on, in which case you should seek advice from elsewhere.
Dreaming of a Book Ladder at the Library
Libraries appearing in dreams signify wisdom and knowledge, and we know that climbing ladders refers to your aspirations.
A dream of climbing a ladder in a library represents your aspirations to gain more knowledge, and additional experience which will help you along your journey.
Perhaps a situation in waking life has left you reeling or feeling very confused (see also Maze Dream Meaning), and you want to feel as though you have some control or some stability within it, and gaining more insight is the way to do it.
Alternatively, dreaming of a library ladder indicates you’ll embark on a spiritual journey soon, which will mean you’ll gain a lot of wisdom or experience at the end of it, and this could change your outlook on life completely.
Using a Rope Ladder
Dreaming of using a rope ladder is an interesting one. If you have ever tried to climb a rope ladder, you’ll know that it will echo your every movement, making it difficult to balance, and you will feel very unsteady.
This physical feeling mirrors the one that causes this dream: instability. You may feel very uncertain about something in waking life. Perhaps a relationship which has always been a pillar of support is breaking down, and you’re not sure what to do with this.
Maybe you’re in a situation where the outcome absolutely has to be positive, but you’re unsure which way it will go.
Dreaming of a rope ladder can also be a sign that you want an escape route of some kind in waking life, if something goes wrong. You feel it is better to have a plan in place, if current events don’t work out for you.
Maybe events in waking life are coming too fast at you right now, or you’re in a life-changing situation, and to claw back a sense of control, you want to make sure you have an alternative in case things go wrong.
Common Ladder Dreams and Their Meanings
Walking Under a Ladder in Your Dream
Dreaming of walking under a ladder is your subconscious warning you that something is incredibly tricky or risky.
There’s a lot to lose in a situation in waking life, and while you may have recognized this, you believe it’s more important to push on.
It could be that you haven’t realized the gravity of the potential consequences of this situation going wrong, or you feel a beneficial outcome far outweighs the risk.
This dream can be a sign that you need to take stock of your surroundings, and anything which might influence the outcome of the situation.
Perhaps this dream is warning you to look at any details which may help you to succeed in this situation, otherwise you risk it spinning out of your control.
Dreaming of Falling Off a Ladder
If you dream of falling off a ladder, this indicates that someone in your life may be the source of a lot of problems in your future. This may be entirely by accident, in which case it will be difficult to blame them, but you’ll still feel rotten about it.
This dream can be a sign that you need to look at the people in your life, and ask yourself if there’s anyone who would have a reason to sabotage your goals, or someone who would have a reason to want to see you hurt.
Maybe you’re in the running for a promotion at work, and while people are starting to notice that you’re making great progress, there may be one or two people who aren’t glad about it.
Coming Down a Ladder in Your Dream
Dreaming of descending a ladder doesn’t mean you’re about to lose your current position or progress in life. Instead, it signifies that you’ll go through a significant period of change soon.
This is nothing to worry about, as this dream also implies that if anything goes wrong, you will still end up benefiting from this changing situation, rather than stagnating in the same place.
Dreaming of Watching People Climb a Ladder
This is an interesting one. Dreaming of watching people climb a ladder indicates that you’ll be jealous of someone else’s progress soon.
This is especially true if you were standing on the ground in this dream, watching someone get further away from you.
It can mean that you’re spending too much time comparing yourself to other people, rather than working towards your own goals.
Dreaming of Using a Ladder to Climb a Tree
Dreaming of using a ladder to climb a tree (see also Tree Dream Meaning) is a mixed sign. While you will find a shortcut to success in some situations in waking life, you won’t gain valuable experience or knowledge from it.
This dream signifies that the long and hard way to an outcome is sometimes the better option. Yes, you will encounter obstacles, but you’ll feel prouder and surer of your capabilities for having reached your end goal through your own power.
Watching People Descend a Ladder in Your Dream
Dreaming of watching people climb down a ladder implies that someone close to you will soon give up on an idea or a project they’ve been working on for so long.
The possibility of this will feel gut-wrenching, as you know how hard they’ve worked to get to where they are now.
It will fall to you to make them realize that things are not as bad as they might seem at first glance, and that maybe it’s not the right time to give up, just yet.
A Ladder Falling On You in A Dream
Dreaming of a ladder falling on you implies that a tricky situation will take you by surprise, just at the wrong time.
This situation will mean that you’ll miss a perfect opportunity that will seem like it was made just for you, but you won’t take it, as you’ll feel it is the wrong time, or this situation will mean a lot of responsibilities that fall only to you.
Carrying a Ladder in Your Dream
Dreaming of carrying a ladder refers to your industrious nature. You’re not afraid to work as hard as you can in order to get things completed, but your hard work may be going unnoticed in a situation which will be frustrating.
Perhaps you won’t get the recognition for your efforts just yet, but it will come in time.
Dreaming of Climbing a Ladder
Climbing a ladder within your dream relates to making progress somewhere in waking life, but this dream usually refers to relationships and how they may soon make a significant impact on your life.
Broken Ladder Dream Meaning
Dreaming of a broken ladder indicates that something is halting your progress, somewhere.
It’s time to look at the possibilities of what’s holding you back, and to remove what you need to in order to move forward.
Dreaming of Supporting a Ladder For Someone
Dreaming of holding a ladder for someone refers to a future situation where you will have to be patient with someone.
They will require your help, and how you treat them may have a bigger echo than you might think.
How To Find the Meaning Behind Your Ladder Dream
Ladder dreams, as you can see, can contain a myriad of meanings, so it’s important to look at the details of your dream in order to understand the significance behind it.
Here are a few questions to get you started.
How High is the Ladder?
How high the ladder is within your dream can be an interesting indicator of how difficult or easy a future situation might be, especially if your dream refers to how you might achieve future goals.
A stepladder suggests imminent success, while a scaffolding ladder or even an extension ladder reflects that you have a lot of work ahead of you.
How Well Could You Climb the Ladder?
If you were climbing the ladder in your dream, exactly how fast and how well you climbed it relates to how fast you will make progress in the near future.
Climbing easily mirrors a smooth transition in life, or an easy success, while being afraid of heights or struggling to climb refers to obstacles which will slow your progress.