Ladder of Life is a very inclusive term used by many occult schools and religions. In its profoundest sense it is interchangeable with The Hermetic Chain or The Golden Chain. Mainly, it refers to the ascending grades or stages of the universe’s development and also of the spiritual, mystical, and occult ascent of the adept. Examples of this Ladder are seen in various teachings: in Hinduism, the Ladder of the Brahmins; in the Kabbalah, the Ladder to the En Sof; in Judaism, Jacob’s Ladder; the Ladder of Mithraism; and John of the Ladder, symbolizing Christian ascent. For the Alchemists, Rosicrucians, and Theosophists the Ladder was a key symbol. A.G.H.
Riland, George.The New Steinerbooks Dictionary of Paranormal. New York Warner Books, Inc. 1980 p. 161