Led Zeppelin: Stairway To Heaven Meaning
Stairway To Heaven Lyrics
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...
anonymous Sep 26th, 2009 9:55pm report
The song begins by saying:
"There’s a lady whose 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."
This first stanza can mean that even though the world is ugly and dirty (sin, violence, crime) there are still some things that glitter like gold (religion, peace, tolerance). When she speaks a word to get what she came for (in this case the "gold") she is presumably praying, or the act of speaking out for her beliefs. When she "buys a stairway to heaven" she is not actually looking for a cheap way to God, but rather is finding a way to make the world a better place, to shine more like gold. She can do this through religion (God, or any other deity that the listener can interpret), through peace and tolerance, speaking out "with a word", through random acts of kindness, etc.
"There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
’Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there is a songbird who sings:
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven."
This stanza sums up all of our interpretations by saying that there is no particular one interpretation. rather, there is a meaning behind the song (with "a sign on the wall") but we have to be sure what it says in our interpretations, because "sometimes words have two meanings." We are warned not to over-analyze the song though, because "sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven."
"Theres 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 standing looking"
Religiously speaking, Jesus Christ is said to come from the eastern sky when the world ends, so many people would think east is to west as Jesus is to Satan, and so here we see a classic example of a possible religious meaning. However, to many early Americans, Manifest Destiny was the belief that the U.S. was destined to spread to the Pacific Ocean, (which was located in the west). So, when "[we] get a feeling when [we] look to the west/ and [our] spirit[s] [are] crying for leaving" we believe that we must strive to be free. Free from the ugliness of the world, so we can reach the gold. And as the world burns, as seen with "rings of smoke through the trees" we stand and watch what we have done, listening to "the voices of those who stand looking."
"And it’s whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter"
"the piper" who "will lead us to reason" can be God, any other spiritual deity, or even any idea that would lead us to make the choice each day to lead a healthy, beneficial life for the good of the world, to make it "shine like gold". "...for those who stand long", the song says, "a new day will dawn" which means that those who perservere in the world and "stand long" will see a new day dawn. One that is bright and joyous, like gold. When "the forests... echo with laughter" we will finally be at peace with the world. Religiously speaking, we will be praising and worshiping in Heaven.
"If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow,
Don’t be alarmed now,
Its just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by but in the long run
Theres still time to change the road you’re on."
"the May Queen" can again be any spiritual force, being, or idea that acts upon us and the world. So "if there's a bustle in you hedgerow (your hedgerow being your life) don't be alarmed now" because that spiritual force is acting in your life to clean it up, making you a new person, so you can make the world a better place. But although the may queen has acted in your life, you still have a choice: "yes there are two paths you can go by". But if you're not on the right path, "There's still time to change the road you're on."
"Your head is humming and it won’t go,
In case you don’t know:
The pipers calling you to join him."
Even though you may be in total chaos right now, like "your head is humming", just listen to your heart (the Piper) because "the piper's calling you to join him". Follow your heart and you will find peace, love, and joy.
"Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow,
And did you know:
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind."
Once again, your heart is calling you, but can you hear it? "Can you hear the wind blow"? Listen to hear it, because "your stairway (answer) lies on the whispering wind (your heart)".
"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.
And if you listen very hard the tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all, yeah, to be a rock and not to roll."
As we go on with our lives, "wind[ing] on down the road" we realize that we have sinned, so "our shadows [are] taller than our souls." However, we must look to see the "lady we all know" because she is the example. She "shines white light and wants to show [us] how everything [can] still turn to gold." However, "if you listen very hard, the tune (answer to finding peace, love, and joy in this world) will come to you at last." It is only then that you will realize what it means "to be a rock and not to roll" or, someone who stands by and does nothing to make the world a better place.
"And she’s buying a stairway… to heaven."
The song is summed up in this last line at the end of the song when it is said "she's buying (or finding) a stairway (or a way, path, or answer) to heaven (or a better world filled with peace, love, and pure joy for everyone)".
anonymous Aug 6th, 2009 8:03pm report
Ok, I just want to say before I submit my interpretation that I am in no way religious but I have studied many religions and religious practices in great detail. Also I believe that music, like any art, is open to personal interpretation. There are no right or wrong interpretations, because even the artists themselves do not know the True message sometimes.
Ill start of by saying that I do not believe the "piper" is Jesus as several others have said. I will instead post a passage from the bible and let you make your own judgement.
God to Lucifer...
"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created." [Ezekiel 28:13]**A tabret is a small drum and a pipe is well a flute**
The bible teaches that God created Lucifer as the celestial composer of music, with celestial pipes; the piper. The Piper could also be a reference to Pan, the greek god of the forest. He was half man, half goat. The image of Pan was used as by the church in the medieval period as the image of Lucifer.
Ok now to the lyrics....
^Theres a lady whos sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.^
There is a person(presumably a woman)who believes all that appears to be is so (The gold is not literal). She is buying a Stairway to Heaven, not with money, but with her actions and the way she lives her life.
^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.^
The closed stores are basically the doors of life, or the things she has given up in order to remain in good standing with god. But with a word, or prayer, she can get what she came for, which is her gods blessing.
^Theres a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.^
The sign on the wall is the Bible or the "word of god". Apparently she has read something that disapproves of what she is doing in life. Even though the bible clearly says it is wrong, she is having doubt and she is thinking that maybe "the words have two meanings."
^In a tree by the brook
Theres a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it makes me wonder.^
She realizes that she has missed out on so much and begins to have second thoughts about her beliefs. And maybe that her time and thoughts were "misgiven"
^Theres a feeling I get
When I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.^
Here the song shifts from the "Lady" to the Narrator, or the singer. At its roots Christianity was a religion of the East, the Western Religions were the Pagan Religions. His spirit is crying for leaving the ways of old.
^In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who standing looking.^
The rings of smoke are from the chimney as he walks back to his home, returning back "to the west". And he hears the voices of those who stand looking (the gods or god and lucifer)
^And its whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.^
If we all call the tune(find the meaning to the song) Then the piper (Pan) will lead us to reason(Absolute Truth)
^And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.^
A new day will dawn for those who stand long (the gods)
^If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Dont be alarmed now,
Its just a spring clean for the may queen.^
The Narrator, or singer, is now talking to the Lady from the beginning of the song. A "bustle in your hedgerow" is a way of saying she is menstruating, coming of age(not literally, but it shows that she is coming of age in a spiritual sense, so now she can make her own decisions about religion.)
^Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
Theres still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.^
The Path of Christianity or the path of the Occult. Even though she had chose Christianity it isn't too late to change her path.
^Your head is humming and it won't go
In case you don't know,
The pipers calling you to join him^
Her head is humming because she has a decision to make, and the piper (pan) is calling her to join him.
^Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow,
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.^
Her past life of Christianity is gone, blown away with the wind so to say.
^And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.^
As our lives go on our image is more valued by society than what we think.
^There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How evrything still turns to gold.^
The lady walks on and shows how no matter what decision you make, life still goes on.
^And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.^
Like I said earlier all you have to do is listen and you will find your meaning of the song.
^When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.^
When everyone stands strong in their devotion regardless of what others think of them.
Stairway to Heaven is about what the title says it is - a stairway to heaven. This song was referred to by Robert Plant as a "wedding song" which, in the mystical terminology of the kabbalah, refers to the union of man and his Creator in Heaven. The song goes on to describe "a Lady" making her spiritual journey. Interestingly, mystical literature refers to mankind as a lady in respect to the Creator. For a complete explanation see: http://www.divreinavon.com/stairway.htm
anonymous Jul 2nd, 2009 7:31pm report
I would say that it's not so much about organized religion as it is about blind faith in religion and/or anything else in life. It has more to do with the society of that time, in that some people were "outstanding citizens" with a "good protestant work ethic." On the other side, there was the counterculture. I see "Stairway" as a call to the other side, much like "Break on Through," for Morrison. This counter cultural experience is filled with the philosophy of FREEDOM, and that's the very essence of the song at it's core. John Lennon's quote from Working Class Hero comes to mind initially. "Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, and you think you're so clever and classless and free, but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see." That statement oozes similarity to Plant's line, "your stairway lies on the whispering wind!" Overall, Plant was like "hey, you can do what they tell you or you can (conincidentally) 'do as thou wilst.'" This doesn't necessarily stand against religion in general at all. In fact, centuries before Aleister Crowley was born, St. Augustine of Hippy, er Hippo (Freudian slip) said "Love God and Do As Thou Wilst!" This song just reinforces the fact that "the truth will set you free," which is true no matter what belief system you subscribe to. It's also a subtle "you're right on" to the kids of that day who were trying to figure out what the world was like, and whether or not they were really gonna "go to hell" for something like smokin' Mary Jane or thinking a certain way politically, or having different opinions than those of your parents' generation. It was a song of hope for them, and the song remains the same for the youth of our day, and that's why it's timeless. No backmasking, no drug references, no satanic influence, just a deep song about freedom.
Plant wrote this lyrics in a moment of trance. He felt something just wrote the lyrics for him. I guess he had smoked somthing not so good stuff. He had now idea that if you played this song backwards it would contained hidden messages. he said he was shocked when he hard it. But I guess Plant do not understand 100 percent of its meaning either.
Compare with White shade of pale that absolutely noone nows what it is about
this song might have hiden mesages but Plant was not aware of.
Im a religious person and i have no illusions that this song is about satan or whatever. i infact that the "lady" in the song is tithing and she thinks that will get into heaven. In the part of the song where it says "sometimes words have two meanings", i think that is a parable which the bible has plenty of those.
randomname54321 May 24th, 2009 5:13am report
Ill just take it line by line and skip out the portions that really don't mean anything such as"ooh ooh she's buying a stairway...", I may occasionally stop for expanded explanation
"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold"
Theres a lady who thinks all that's good is money
"and she's buying a stairway to heaven"
and she's trying to reach heaven
"When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for. "
when she's there she won't need money
"There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings."
the message is staring her in the face but is sometimes hard to decipher
"In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven."
sometimes we sin
the songbird could be many things, but is likely some sort of messenger, most likely the bible. However it could also be people who spread the word of god or a particular agent of god, this much is unclear. In any case, the tree and the brook are of no signifigance
"There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving. "
I long for heaven
"In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking."
I have seen the signs of heaven. I see those who see the signs with me.
"And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason"
If we all join with god then he will lead us where we need to go.
"And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter."
And the people who stand by god will be happy
"If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen. "
if you are persecuted, do not be afraid, all will be well in the end.
"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. "
there are two paths (one to heaven and one not) but there still hope for you to change your ways.
"Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,"
you don't know which way to go, but god calls you his way
"Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind. "
can you hear god telling you the way to heaven? the way is through god
"And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul. "
as we go through life, our sins more than we can account for
"There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold."
the lady still thinks all that is good is money
"And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last."
Every tongue will praise god
"When all are one and one is all "
They shall praise him with one voice
"To be a rock and not to roll."
he is our foundation and will not fail
"And she's buying a stairway to heaven"
And the lady is reaching heaven
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
As someone who has been both religious and agnostic, my interpretation of the song is an anti-religious theme.
"Buying a stairway to heaven" refers to tithing, but also the Catholic church, who would accept payment to have sins forgiven. "There's still time to change the road you're on"
refers to taking a path away from religion, and the "Piper will lead us to reason", may very well be Satan or possibly someone else of influence. May Day was once banned by the Christians in early England. The May Queen refers to May Day. (Not sure how this figures into the song though!)
Wikipedia is a good source of information for May Queen and the song's interpretation!
anonymous Mar 29th, 2009 3:12am report
My interpretation is similar to a lot of others prior to this one I know I didn't look up any of the bible references I put on there but I'm sure they would be easy to find if you guys are curious to look them up.... well there are most definitely many interpretations of this song and I think that's the beauty of it and it could mean something different to everybody who listens to this song that could be why this song has lasted through the ages and hopefully will continue to be passed on to future generations to enjoy
Theres a lady whos sure (represents the average materialistic human being)
All that glitters is gold (tangigible material things are spriritually valuable)
And she's buying a stairway to heaven. (trying to buy her way into heaven which is pretty obvious)
When she gets there she knows (points out next couple lines)
If the stores are all closed (she can't sell her belongings to get to heaven by bribing or what not)
With a word she can get what she came for. (if she can't buy her way into heaven the "word" of god can get her in)
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.
Theres a sign on the wall (signs give direction in this case the sign is the bible which is the "guide" to eternal life in heaven)
But she wants to be sure (she is not sure what the bible means)
cause you know sometimes words have two meanings. (parables or various interpretations expressed by the various religions that are different and yet claim the bible to be their basis)
In a tree by the brook (jesus on the cross I guess is by the brook or river where he was baptized... not sure on that one)
Theres a songbird who sings, (Jesus)
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven. (not really sure on this one I guess that we can change even what jesus says into what we want)
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.
Theres a feeling I get
When I look to the west, (sun is setting on their lifetime)
And my spirit is crying for leaving. (for heaven)
In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees, (smoke comes from fire or hell in the forest which is dark and represents evil or the temptation of leaving the path to heaven)
And the voices of those who standing looking. (I don't know who those people are... maybe they are the tempters)
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.
And its whispered that soon (secrecy)
If we all call the tune (follow our hearts)
Then the piper will lead us to reason. (idk who the piper is I've heard he is jesus and I have heard he's the pied piper who leads the children astray in the mith.... Hopefully its jesus in this case leading the world on the right path)
And a new day will dawn (afterlife)
For those who stand long (those are nearing the end of their life, long shadow, or have had a lot of sin and their shadow is long and they have done many wrongs in their life that need to be forgiven)
And the forests will echo with laughter. (if the forests are evil I guess that they believe that these sinners are unable to release their earthly pleasures and repent for their sins)
If there's a bustle in your hedgerow (everyday temptation)
Dont be alarmed now, (dont worry)
Its just a spring clean for the may queen. (you can get through it with mary (mary's feast month thing is may) or religion)
Yes, there are two paths you can go by (heaven/hell)
But in the long run (by the time you die)
Theres still time to change the road you're on. (obvious repenting for sins)
And it makes me wonder.
Your head is humming and it won't go (conscience bothering you because you have wronged)
In case you don't know,
The pipers calling you to join him, (jesus wants everybody to go to heaven) (my other interpretation of these few lines is that "your head is humming" is temptation and the piper could be satan or deciet or whatever)
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow,
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind. (either cannot be achieved or is very difficult to achieve like in the bible where it was something about it is easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than a rich man (or woman) to get into heaven)
And as we wind on down the road (work our way to the end of our lives)
Our shadows taller than our soul. (our sin is greater than our virtues)
There walks a lady we all know (mary)
Who shines white light and wants to show (white light represents a revelation or bringing new clarity or another viewpoint)
How evrything still turns to gold. (hope that you will not neccessarily go to hell if you repent now)
And if you listen very hard (try your hardest to follow the word of god... possibly your hearts interpretation of this word)
The tune will come to you at last. (your interpretation of the bible)
When all are one and one is all (I don't know)
To be a rock and not to roll. (have a sturdy foundation on jesus (the rock))
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
anonymous Feb 26th, 2009 2:16am report
I always took this song kinda literally. There's a lady who's going to die, and she's trying to find a way into heaven before she goes.
anonymous Feb 11th, 2009 2:37am report
Theres a lady whos sure
There's a lady that believes the church is the path to salvation.
She gives importance to things which do not have it, missing the truly important ones.
Clue for the "backward lyrics", and to look deeply into the normal lyrics.
References to Jesus. Urges the listener to "wonder" (IOW: ponder carefully).
West = where the sun sets. Death. The End.
The piper = Jesus
The tune = what He preached
The New Earth. "Heaven on Earth", for those that have survived Tribulation.
You can still be saved if you correct your ways.
The May Queen = ?
Very fishy, strangely sounding, strangely worded paragraph (remember that "words have two meanings"?).
You can't ignore the calling of Jesus. You know you're not doing what you should do.
Wind = power of Jesus. Truth.
Full of sin and despair. Almost irredeemable, down in the path to "hell".
If you try hard at understanding the true message of Christ, you will achieve it.
Humanity united. Everyone is connected. No more sin. Strong but not abusive. Heaven on Earth.
Lady we know = ?
*** hidden lyrics ***
Oh... Here's my sweet Satan; the one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is sacred.
He will give those with him 666.
And then, there was bloodshed, he made us suffer, sad Satan.
Satan = Lucifer (before he fell). Lucifer is worshiped in the month of May.
What could all this mean? Oh, it makes me wonder...
... and to carry on with my interpretation... (no idea where I read this) But there are a group of people who think that "Lucifer" is really a light skinned blonde woman. Lucifer of course being "The Light Bringer". Not just Light as in brightness, but also of itelligence. (Remember how stupid Adam and Eve were in the beginning and how the friut they ate gave them knowledge? Who gave Eve the idea to eat it...)
All in all though, It's a song. Just a song. A well written one that drives guitar shop owners nuts, but just a song all the same.
Oh, and by the way, someone said that "If there's a bustle in your hedgegrow-don't be alarmed now. Its just a springclean for the mayqueen" didn't actually mean anything and that it was because of what it supposed to sound like backwards. This is bull. There were hidden messages, but they were played forwards for all to here. Words have 2 meanings, anyone??? The quote above from the song can be interpreted as: If something crap happens in your life, don't worry because it's small in the grand scale of things. I seriously wonder where most of you come from to be so misguided. Yes, it IS about religion... well... the absence of it anyway. How we don't need it.
There has to be a reason why Kenneth Anger said that this was the "Most Santanic Song they've ever done". Surely. And he meant it as a kind of compliment. (Kind of back-handed, because he wanted Page to do the soundtrack to Lucifer Rising but fell out with him and used someone else instead.)
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