What does Stairway To Heaven mean?

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Led Zeppelin: Stairway To Heaven Meaning

Stairway To Heaven Lyrics

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to...


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    Dec 16th, 2005 12:06pm report

    You're all missing the point... Sort of. This song means a lot of things to a lot of people. It's not just drugs, or magic, or Tolkien, or whatever. It's about the feeling that there's something out there, which you can't control, that there are forces and... That you are not alone as an individual in this crazy world, that the piper will "Call us to reason", whoever he is, and that a voice of reason will emerge to end the fighting, violence, senselessness.

    So while there are drug references, while there is backmasking, I guess, and there are most definitely references to Tolkien... That's not the full essence of the song. The essence of this song is different for everyone and that's why this is still a classic years later... because "sometimes words have two meanings."


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    Dec 28th, 2005 12:08am report

    Hello it's me again CrutcHead, first off I'd like to say that its quite interesting to see that we're having a great discussion here regarding Zep's all-time great rock classic staple, Stairway To Heaven.

    I guess to further clarify what we could find in this song, I suppose a line per line study of the lyrics should suffice. However before going to that, I'd like to state a few points if I may-- the phenomenon called 'Backmasking' (which is now being alleged as a dud by many these days - even by those who just do so out of what they're told, or its that they just don't like to look 'stupid' or be called as one by those around them mainly by their peers and its all a concern for that public image social stuff as for what is common) is a valid matter. And setting aside such preconceived ideas by approaching the said phenomena in an open-minded/unbiased perspective- the phenomenon is provable.
    As I've stated from my previous review to the song, that when you 'memorize the said line heard backwards and record your own voice reciting the backward (it) line would emit the forward segment of that particular portion when one listens to his own voice recording played in reverse.'

    The other matter which makes "alleged" backmask examples non-credible- is because of that some who presented them set out words that are not really there when heard backwards. Take for that matter the backward message found on Stairway- many claim that it says "the one who's middle path" , when what it truly state backwards is "the one who made a path, which always makes me sad who's power is satan" - because testing the former line would not emit the forward segment when reversed when using the method explained earlier. Hence, even with forward lyrics people would often have different ideas as well.

    Furthermore to claim that a song is 'ABOUT DRUGS" is such an inane way to irresponsibly explain away the lyrics when it meant more than that- and this is the kind of interpretation you'd often get from a person who don't understand the lyrics to a certain song from certain bands such as U2, or Midnight Oil for that matter.

    Thus to further amplify what there is to be found to our appreciation in the lyrics of Stairway To Heaven by LED ZEP (not the Neil Sedaka song just to clarify), here's a line by line 'exegesis' if you may call it as such of the song:

    ^There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
    And she's buying a stairway to heaven.^
    the lady depicts the church - or to make it plainly the catholic church -- under a scope of reflecting to history REVELATION 17:5 talks about, a church which is supposed to be the bride of Christ, who went wanton and from her came forth daughters(sects) which also prostituted themselves with the ways of the world (a common biblical analogy from the old testament - check the book of Hosea).
    The GOLD being spoken of in the song refers to what lasts forever - for that matter IMMORTALITY, thus the lady had a mindset that every seems that claim (glitters) to resemble what is religious could lead to ETERNAL LIFE/SALVATION, and thus she's trying to buy her way to get to heaven, peculiarly reflectively connected with Matthew 7:21 and Ephesians 2:9 which paints a picture that the woman/lady is indeed being foolish.

    ^When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
    With a word she can get what she came for.
    Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.^
    these lines which depicts the Lady going to the store (the common church) being closed and not being there in time to get 'the word that she can get' for which she came for thinking that those were what could lead/guide her to heaven - is such a very powerful and clear analogy regarding what the song is dealing about.

    ^There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
    'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.^
    Being that 'GOD's WORD' could be mighty vague at times, the lady would even find her self in doubt at times

    ^In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,
    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.^ This line indicates Christ, who's hung/crucified at the cross - who's words are at times misgiven; a great and fine depiction about this is found on the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, in particular with the segment Simon Zealots/Poor Jerusalem tracks - wherein they have a different idea about what christ came here for, their idea of a messiah (saviour) is for political means, when Christ have something else (Spiritual) in mind ... So much for anything amidst the changes of the times

    ^Ooh, it makes me wonder,
    Ooh, it makes me wonder.^
    Plant's personal musings (see second post review)

    ^There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
    And my spirit is crying for leaving.
    In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
    And the voices of those who stand looking.
    Ooh, it makes me wonder,
    Ooh, it really makes me wonder^
    Christianity originating from the East - its opposite would then be the west (even in occult knowledge it defines this same thing), hearken the lines indicate that the speaker is having thoughts of considering another path than the one which is being trod upon Christianity, as there are other 'voices' such as those of the athiests, the evolutionists, and even so-called satanists that offers other options than what is there regarding Christianity. Spilling the beans about the song -this is the whole idea of the song's lyrics and it would even be much more apparent as we move on.

    ^And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
    Then the piper will lead us to reason.^
    Here we have the first mention of the PIPER - who in folklore lead away the children by his music, would thus even come to imply here a certain stem about what sentiments there are within the time of the songs inceptions such as the whole gamut of mysticism and various 'spiritual' cults as those of the Maharishi's, and those of the 60's flower power movement.
    The following line only expresses the Hope that could/may be found about straying away to another spiritual movement - thus as Plant stated before performing the track on what turned out to be their live recording that appeared on the flick The Song Remains The Same 'I Think This is a song of hope'
    ^And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
    And the forests will echo with laughter.^

    ^If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
    It's just a spring clean for the May queen.^
    What these lines appear to imply is that- some situations in our lives would at times come as to stump us, but as in the words to a HERMAN's HERMIT song 'This Door Swings Both Ways' - being pat of the season of our lives, so to speak.

    And now we come to these lines where the "alleged" Backward message appeared:
    ^Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
    There's still time to change the road you're on.
    And it makes me wonder. ^
    Again right here, we hear about the 'path' - a term that is prominent even with occultists (as Jimmy Page is even well in delved with) regarding the study and practice of occultism - whence for every being, it is inevitable to choose a path for the way how you are to live your life, choosing your lifestyle so to speak, and to an occultist- the path of vying for occult knowledge is the 'Path' that they chose, and in that regard the sentiment to bring it upon as the way to spread what is Utopia-like into this world (also check out URIAH HEEP's The Wizard- who's fanbase hail as the only Heavy Metal acoustic song ever written above ZEP's Stairway)
    Ironically though, being a believer of the Bible (and all things related with the hebrew-God YHWH, may I say so) myself, I found nothing wrong with the backward message in this song - I could say so its even a gospel-truth ... That is, satan gives you the bad ride of life (cf. JOHN 10:1 to 10)

    ^Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
    The piper's calling you to join him,^
    It's that nagging feelings and thoughts that would like you to completely turn away from all that is holy

    ^Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.^
    ah the whispering wind, don't you realize that God's wizard Paul the Apostle stated in his knowledge that the spirits of those that are against God are of the air? (check Ephesians 2:1-2) Right now as I write I'm having second thoughts myself about the Angelic Evocation ritual from the Kabbalah that I'm studying to practice is kosher- as far as its evocations are really calling the Archangels of God , or of those that have fallen away with Lucifer/Satan are concerned () cf. EZEKIEL 28:12-19/REVELATION 12:7-9

    ^And as we wind on down the road
    Our shadows taller than our soul.^
    Accordingly- it is self-deceit and vain to follow the steps of religiosity, that ones self-opinion becomes more magnified than what is real, that is: one thinks he is okey when he is not, thus 'our shadow's taller than our souls'

    ^There walks a lady we all know
    Who shines white light and wants to show
    How everything still turns to gold.^
    Organized Religion who claims to serve as the guide to the path of eternal life

    ^And if you listen very hard
    The tune will come to you at last.
    When all are one and one is all^
    The song implies - that the answer lies actually in global unity, and thus is the very thing which REVELATION chapter 13 predicts - a global government lead by a single anti-christian figure or government, which is not far from reality, as statistics amongst UN Board members answered for the cure to all global problems: coyly they answered unanimously (and unknowing about it) = a one world government! (read sometime ago in NEWSWEEK 1989)
    The Gospel According to Satan indeed!

    ^To be a rock and not to roll.^
    Not to wander but to be formidable and sure
    -- afterwards the song transits to the picture that we have of the foolish woman, still:
    ^And she's buying a stairway to heaven^
    which I think is one of the wonderful elements to this song - its that it paves to paint a picture amidst its lyrics along with the narrative concerning the thoughts that we have discussed here mirrored by its lyrics, which would segue time and time again back to the travelling woman in the path which she believes to be that road that leads to Life.

    All in all, despite of the arguments and everything - the song is one heck of a genius work indeed coming from LED ZEP's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (the latter an avowed 'fan' of the self-proclaimed late british faggot/occult ecsentric Alister Crowley).

    ---Chris Banez lim


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    Dec 1st, 2005 12:09am report

    It never ceases to amaze me how similar drug addicts are to the devoutly religious:

    1. Maximum of a high school education (or, more than likely, equivalent)
    2. No knowledge of probability/statistics, or literature
    3. Belief that everything is about or related to the thing that is most important to them

    It’s no different in this case. The drug addicts are all saying “yo, dude, it’s about druuuuugs, duuude.” And once again, the religious people are all saying “It’s all about Satan! Satan, Satan, Satan! No Rock and/or Roll music in this house!”

    When will you people learn?

    Ok, first things first. Stairway to Heaven is poetry: pretty words that sound good together that convey happy and good feelings – and in this case, no real or deep meaning. That’s it. That’s all Plant says it is. That’s all Page says it is. That’s about all that anyone can knowledgeably say it is.


    One idiot wrote something like “duuuude, ‘buying a stairway to heaven’ means the chick is buying drugs, so she’s gonna die.” Ok, that’s fine and all, except you forgot one thing: THE REST OF THE FUCKING SONG. This accounts for exactly 2.5% of the song. So, duuuude, why will the “piper … lead us to reason”? Or, when will the new day dawn “for those who stand long”? And just what the hell does any of that have to do with buying drugs and dying?


    This one is always my favorite. EVERYTHING gets traced back to good ol’ Satan. In this case it’s like seeing the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4034787.stm): if you toast enough bread, eventually something’s gonna come up looking like something important to you or that you think about a lot. If you sit around and listen to any noise for 8 minutes and 3 seconds you’ll end up hearing something that sounds like whatever it is you happen to be looking for. This is also a lot like EVP (http://www.aaevp.com/). Anyone who made it through high school or college freshman level probability/statistics should understand this.

    Another familiar religious story came up as well: [the love of] money is [the root of all] evil. Of course, religious leaders often remove the bracketed sections. So, one person wrote “She thinks she can buy her way into heaven, but then discovers her life is pointless and she goes to hell.”

    What? What the hell does that even mean? Why is her life pointless? Is it because of the “forests echoing with laughter” perhaps? Or is it because she did not stand long, so a new day will, in fact, not be dawning for her? The last bit of the song would tend to lead one away from her being in hell anyway: “And as we wind on down the road, Our shadows taller than our soul. There walks a lady we all know, Who shines white light and wants to show, How everything still turns to gold.”

    So, next time you hear Stairway to Heaven come on the radio think Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, or even Tolkien or Homer. Just don’t jump straight to Satan, or “it’s about druuugs, maaaan.” Put a little bit of thought into it.


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    Aug 28th, 8:39pm report

    I am 56 years old I have been listening to Stairway to Heaven for many years when I was a teen. Every time I hear it I learn something new about the lyrics I think it has a lot to say about your path in life and where you are going and never give up on God he is always around. Don't give up on your faith in him things happen for a reason. God created us for a reason so don't lose hope this beautiful song has nothing to do with drugs and I have done many in my life. In this crazy world we live in God is watching over us even the bad ones its his job. Hey I still love old music drink beer drugs but I am not scared of what God has in store for me.


    Bruce Claypool
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    Jun 23rd, 6:07pm report

    this song is about the undertaker....

    a trajety has bestruck a family in a small town.
    "there's a songbird who sings" refers to them singing at the tavern every night.
    "it makes you wonder" refers to the facct that it remains a mystery to be solved.
    "then the piper will lead us to reason" refers to a vigil of revelers who are gathered in the town square.
    "yes there are two paths you can go by" refers to a change in careers or location. The survivors must pick up the pieces and start a new life for themselves.
    "the piper is calling you to join him" refers to death, to join St. Peter up in heaven.
    "and as we wind on down the road" refers to the road of life.
    "our shadows taller than our souls" the sun is setting casting long shadows of there backs as they have so much work ahead of them that its is more work than they can be expected do.
    "there walks a lady we all know" refers to a whore, prostitute.
    "to be a rock and not to roll" refers to them staying and they carry on standing thier ground.
    "and she's buying a stairway to heaven" refers to they prosper and live happily ever after.


    Bruce Claypool
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    Jun 23rd, 6:02pm report

    The song is about the trajic death of a man's wife who died in a blaze when the house burned down and she was trapped inside of it.


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    Apr 12th, 4:43pm report

    The one and only Robert Plant with the LED ZEPPELIN band at their best with ''Stairway To Heaven''. A hopeful song to receive the ''SPIRIT'' of the 60's and 70's to explore and discover your road in life that is also alive and relevant today ''with'' and about a ''lady'' to find your way from the parallel ''TWO PATHS'' that are on the road we're traveling to hear the echoes of WORDS that have ''TWO MEANINGS''. To ''think'' and then decide to listen to that ''BIRD song'' that was and still singing it's tail of to tell and direct us to choose ''THE WAY'' that is not to late ''if'' you're on the wrong path to change directions with hope that would lead you to the Heavenly One that ''feels the burn'' of Compassion for us, by getting all of us to Heaven without burning the stairway behind any of us that has been blowing his Trumpet as the Piper at the gates of Heaven who doesn't charge a fee if we took the right path even in today's day.


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    Mar 16th, 2016 3:00am report

    A demon wrote it threw possessing plant.. HIS WORDS.. i have experienced this as well, its how like 90% of rock music is written lol


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    Aug 24th, 2015 8:46pm report

    This is easy if "you listen very hard" and you identify the lady.

    The lady is Queen Elizabeth II. The crown has collected taxes from many countries, including the USA. Hence she has collected enough money to buy a stairway to heaven to leave as her legacy to the world. She uses art, music, movies, TV shows, politicians and musicians to "whisper" her intents. She will turn 90 in 2016, at which time she will gift her subjects with with the money and interest collected during her reign. With the proceeds of her gift, humanity will invest in second and third world countries to eliminate poverty.


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    Aug 7th, 2015 8:12am report

    Led zeppelin's lead singer doesn't know what it is about. He said on interview that a spirit channeled it through him. Look it up.


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    Jun 20th, 2015 6:16pm report

    Simple, it's about a spiritual man who has been with many women and see's a very common occurance in many of them which is confusion, non understanding of anything other than what they can comprehend on a physical level. She's good looking, she comes from money, she can find plenty of money where ever she goes and is caught up in worldly possesions. Not taking the time to recieve confirmation on heaven yet taking the time to recieve worldly gifts to create a happiness in her mind that is closest to heaven.. In the eyes of the creater of this song there are two people, the ones he knows and the ones that know him. The song promotes a feeling of really wanting this women to be happy on a higher level. The stairway to this women right now is everything physical, maybe after she gets all her houses, husbands, kids, cars and airplanes, ect. She will realize that alone will not get her to heaven. because there is still time to change the road your on there is still hope. as the song progresses from a sad reality slow truth to more of a fast pace truth, the sadness continues but with an upbeat hope. Keep on rockin' I wish her the best and all in her position.


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    Nov 20th, 2014 11:34pm report

    I think that stairway is'nt only about drugs but about someone who's life only revolves around them: ^all that glitters is gold^, ^with a word she can get what she came for^ also, there are no stanic messages. The reason this song came out so messed up (and awesomw ) is yes they were very trippy at the time.


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    Nov 2nd, 2014 11:09pm report

    The meaning is found in Celtic mythology. You all have it wrong.


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    Oct 14th, 2014 10:51am report

    The song is a lighhthearted play on lots of archetypal stuff. Hence so many references to things from folklore as well as the literature of the time that inspired people. Tolkien is hinted at, religious imagery, it's just saying think about stuff, don't fear, you can change as you learn, seek truth and you'll find it. As for the Christian viewpoint, I am a Christian but I get so saddened and sick of all the fear and condemnation of anything that dares to ask questions of life. "Seek and you will find" it says in the Bible, not listen to this or that music and you're doomed! Just enjoy the track, it's harmless and brilliant!


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    Sep 27th, 2014 9:46pm report

    OK, this may seem strange and a little far fetched to say the least, and it's a very limited interpretation to say the least. I am merely concentrating on the statement in the lyrics about the piper leading you to reason. During the Dark Ages, there was a craze called Dance Manias. The youth and young adults of villages would run away from their homes riddled with plague and follow musicians across the lands and essentially become vagabonds. Their reasoning: it would be better to live the life they live now rather than stay in their homes and wait for disease to overtake them. In following these musicians, they actively began to take drugs (herbal substances of that era) and dance madly to music. All that these young people desired was to lose consciousness, enter a trance, and literally dance until they could dance no more. Essentially, dance has shown to release pent up energy and relieve stress. By doing this along with numbing pain through the use of external substances, these young adults were escaping the horrors of life Moreover, they were "buying their stairway to heaven." All these people would die in their travels with these musicians. These Dance Manias inspired the child's story, "The Pied Piper of Hamlin". All in all, these young adults were ensuring that they were going to die the way that they wanted to. They lived their lives, allowing the piper to lead them on the journey of truth.

    As I said before, this is a very vague and loose interpretation that I developed after listening to this song this evening. I thought that it was interesting that the song shared so many parallels with these Dance Manias that have been historically recorded in tapestries as well as manuscripts.


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    Aug 23rd, 2014 8:16am report

    The song doesn't tell a story but is a collection of characters or archetypes as Carl Jung would say. These are concepts that are just "out there" And these concepts can mean different things to different people. It is crazy for anybody to try and interpret the song because there is no story or message, the story is in the characters. Why do people always have to have meaning for things. Why can't they just appreciate and have that sense of awe and yes "it makes you WONDER about the world.


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    May 7th, 2014 5:37am report

    The lady in the song is about THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND who is very powerful and rich. Plainly simple that the band is advising the lady to believe in the faith. When the band was interviewed about its meaning, the band simply said they don't know what they were writing about :-) . They will not tell because its is meant for their Queen. They were also telling us that, in order for us to go to heaven, then be a rock (in faith) and not roll our faiths.


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    May 7th, 2014 5:01am report

    All the word LADY in the song refer to the Queen of England. The band do not want to divulge this when the song became a success. The song obviously refers to religious matters.

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