And she's buying the stairway to heaven

from Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven Lyrics on Rap Genius


There are several possibilities for what a “stairway to heaven” could be, (although it’s just as likely that’s it’s symbolic more than anything).

In the Middle Ages, when the churches needed money, they would go around attempting to scare people by telling them if they didn’t make donations to the church, their souls would get stuck in purgatory.

These were called indulgences. It makes sense, because it goes along with the idea of foolish people thinking that if they paid enough they could get their way into heaven.

(Obviously buying a direct passageway into heaven is impossible, but don’t tell that to this lady!)

Another possibility is that the stairway is a reference to Jacob’s Ladder, where Jacob has a dream of angels climbing up a ladder and ascending to heaven.

“Gen 28:12: And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

She thinks she can get to heaven by “earning” it through good deed, tithes, indulgences.

Also, an allusion to the Tower of Babel, where presumptuous people who wanted to reach Heaven, built the tower.

But, as we said, as with a lot of great songs, the stairway could just be a very broad metaphor used to create speculation; i.e. it could mean anything you want it to mean.

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