The Mithraic Ladder

Readers of Manly P Hall’s The Secret Teachings Of All Ages will have found reference to an occult concept called the Mithraic Ladder. In its exoteric form, this is the name given to the ladder of seven rungs by which initiates ascended the grades in the Mithraic Mysteries. Its esoteric meaning, as this essay will explore, means something different.

In the physical world, the Mithraic Ladder represents the ascension through the seven grades of the Mithraic Mysteries, from the Corax degree through the Nymphus, Miles, Leo, Perses, Heliodromus and Pater degrees (it’s possible that these degrees were for the Mithraic priesthood and not for mainstream initiates). Thus, the Corax degree is the lowest and the Pater degree the highest.

In the metaphysical world, the Mithraic Ladder represents the spectrum between good and bad/evil, divided into seven steps. The bottommost step is always taken to represent the base, ignorant, animalistic state of humankind, and the uppermost step to represent the perfect and divine state that can be achieved in enlightenment. This metaphorical Mithraic Ladder underpins a great deal of occultist thought.

This division of the spectrum between good and bad/evil into seven stages was commonplace in ancient occultism. Not only was it the basis of the Mithraic Ladder, it was also the basis of the Sanskrit chakra system, the Mysteries of Brahma, the Seven Masculine Elements in Western Hermeticism and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.

These seven stages are often referred to by their corresponding alchemical element. The lowest stage is lead. Next is tin, then iron, then copper, then silver, then mercury, with gold as the highest stage. This arrangement reflects how a person’s soul seems to emit more light the higher they climb up the Mithraic Ladder.

These seven stages can be arranged into three groups, corresponding to the three parts of the Platonic soul. Hence, lead and tin represent the appetitive soul, iron and copper the spirited soul, and silver, mercury and gold the rational soul (iron and silver might be considered parts of the appetitive and spirited souls, respectively).

Because the Mithraic Ladder reflects a fundamental pattern within the Great Fractal, namely the existence of the Great Masculine Axis, it can be seen everywhere.

The most obvious place is in the heavens, where the uppermost step is represented by the Sun, and the lowermost step by Saturn, with Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars and Jupiter in between. Whether this is a fluke, or whether the architect of the material world saw fit to encode a Mithraic Ladder in the heavens, remains a mystery.

A rainbow is not a Mithraic Ladder. Although the rainbow is divided into seven distinct bands, these are not steps, as there is no sense that any are of higher value to any other. The rainbow, like other natural phenomena, operates along the Great Feminine Axis. It could thus be argued that the Mithraic Ladder is orthogonal to the rainbow.

The Mithraic Ladder can be found in many academic fields, particularly psychology.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a description of the biological organism ascending the Mithraic Ladder as it meets its instinctual needs through time. Here, lead and tin are represented by physiological needs, iron by security needs, copper and silver by social and career needs, and mercury and gold by self-actualisation needs.

Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development describes the human being ascending the Mithraic Ladder as it grows older. The trust vs. mistrust stage corresponds to lead, the autonomy vs. shame and doubt stage to tin, the initiative vs. guilt and industry vs. inferiority stages to iron, the identity vs. role confusion and intimacy vs. isolation stages to copper, the generativity vs. stagnation stage to silver and the ego integrity vs. despair stage to mercury/gold.

Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development also describes an ascension of the Mithraic Ladder, in the form of the human consciousness developing moral sophistication. Kohlberg’s theory divides moral development into six stages comprised of three groups, so that pre-conventional morality corresponds to the appetitive soul, conventional morality with the spirited soul, and post-conventional morality with the rational soul.

All of these theories describe a journey up the Mithraic Ladder, wherein the initial state of existence is transcended, and then the second state is transcended, and so on until the seventh and highest state is reached. The phrases “to have ascended to the crown chakra” and “to be in seventh heaven” reflects the bliss of having seen beyond the veils of illusion and transcended material suffering by reaching the seventh rung of the Ladder – in other words, to have turned lead into gold.

My theory of female mate selection, as discussed on the Clown World Dating podcast with Chad Chaddington, is that female mate choice is primarily a function of each woman’s frequency of consciousness, i.e. where her consciousness is on the Mithraic Ladder. For example, women with souls of lead will be attracted to low-frequency men and will discount high-frequency men, whereas women with souls of gold will do the opposite.

My contention is that this theory explains the sometimes baffling mating choices made by women in Clown World better than any alternative theory. This superior explanatory power is generally true of theories based on the Mithraic Ladder, which describes a person’s spiritual development, and which therefore can be found in a multitude of expressions in the material world.


If you enjoyed reading this essay/article, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2020 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019, the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.


If you would like to support our work in other ways, please consider subscribing to our SubscribeStar fund. Even better, buy any one of our books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *