Dreams about elevators, stairs or ladders may be various. We may be using an elevator to get to an important business meeting, get in the elevator which lifts us in the sky for an amazing journey, however, our dream may also be traumatic, connected with cabin fever – the elevator suddenly stops, and we are trapped inside, unable to get out, it may even start to fall down…
Dreams about stairs or elevators are often related to physical exertion. For example, we may be climbing stairs or walking down them, be running away from something dangerous, be in a hurry to get to an important meeting, or be climbing or walking down stairs endlessly… Usually we feel frustrated and walk up unsatisfied.
How to interpret a dream about an elevator, stairs, a ladder?
Dreams containing the motif of elevators, stairs, ladders appear usually in stressful situations, when we are supposed to make a decision, etc.
They are associated with movement – especially an elevators, which moves up and down the floors, which may be the metaphor for the message going from our unconsciousness to the consciousness, or the other way round. Its symbolic may be also more literal – an elevator which lifts us in the unwanted direction may be associated with the rift between our wishes and desires, and what we are currently doing and devoting our attention to. An elevator which moves outside the well means that we are trying to do something which is beyond our abilities, while a falling down elevator reflect the feeling that our life is getting out of our control…It is worth thinking about our emotions in the dream, which will help us face challenges in real life.
Ladders and stairs in dreams symbolize the effort we have to put in to achieve our goals. It is not always easy – just like climbing an extremely tall ladder or long stairs…but sometimes it is worth it. On the other hand, escaping from fire or water taking stairs or climbing a ladder may mean that we are avoiding an important change in our life, that we are afraid of the confrontation – it is worth thinking what situation it concerns, and try to deal with it.
How would Freud interpret a dream about an elevator, stairs, a ladder?
For Freud, dreams about climbing or walking down stairs had a sexual overtone – he connected them strictly with a sexual intercourse.
How would Jung interpret a dream about an elevator, stairs, a ladder?
Jung believed that dreams about climbing stairs and ladders express our searching for individuality, the attempt to get on the higher level of consciousness, while walking down stairs symbolizes the willingness to explore the mysteries of the unconsciousness.
He also believed those symbols to be deeply-rooted in the collective unconsciousness, and he claimed that they prove the will of exploring the spiritual knowledge – he referred to the example of the Jacob’s Ladder, or the medieval painting „Stairway of the Seven Planets”, which were the allegories of the elevator to heaven.