The Ladder was worn as a protective talisman by both the living and the deceased. The amulet was believed to provide the deceased with the means of ascending from this world to the next.
Meaning of the amulet: To the ancient Egyptians the Ladder symbolized a connection with the heaven world and divine help in reaching the heavenly world of the Afterlife.
Early Egyptian mythology placed the heavenly world above the earth, with its floor being the sky. To reach this a ladder was deemed necessary to reach the next world. The crystal floor of the next world rested upon four pillars which marked the cardinal points and it was the aim of every good Egyptian to go there after death.
According to Egyptian mythology Osiris experienced some difficulty reaching the floor of heaven, and Ra provided him with a ladder.
The Ladder was a symbol of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris. Horus extended two fingers to assist his father Osiris in mounting the ladder to the next world (also see the Two Fingers amulet). Another myth the Souls of Pe and Nekhen, followers of Horus, provided the pharaoh with a golden ladder to help him reach the Afterlife.
This ancient mythology mythology is referred to in the Pyramid Texts of Pharaoh Pepi I which stated that the "two fingers of the Lord of the Ladder" (referring to Horus) helped Osiris to ascend to the sky.
This ancient mythology led to a ladder being placed near the dead mummy in the tomb.
The tradition of placing a ladder in the tomb fell into disuse by the period of the New Kingdom. Spells relating to the symbol of the Ladder were contained in the funerary texts known as the Book of the Dead that were evolved from the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts.
Priests devized a spell to give the deceased the words of power to enable a ladder amulet to perform the function of providing the means to ascend to the crystal floor of heaven, with the help of all the gods, following their successful outcome in their 'trial' in the Hall of Judgement.
Spell 149 in the Book of the Dead relates to the ladder and states, "I set up a Ladder among the gods, and I am a divine being among them." A picture symbol of a ladder in hieroglyphics was included in the papyri of the Book of the Dead.
The 17th century metaphysician, Robert Fludd used a giant ladder as a symbol of ascension - see his illustration.
A Talisman or an amulet can be described as a religious object consisting of a stone or other small item, often inscribed or carved with magical inscriptions, magic signs, magic symbols, formula or sacred text.