Mircea Eliade - The Ladder
Type of Spiritual Experience
The ladder imagery appears to be fairly worldwide. In the 1940s, for example, Alfred Metraux discovered that the South American Caribs experienced visions "induced by tobacco juice and hot pepper [sic]". They ‘saw’ a twisted ladder, climbed it in the vision with the aid of ‘the Grandfather vulture’ and so reached the first level of the cosmos.
The Sora Indian shamans, on the other hand, ‘shoot’ a succession of arrows to create a ladder down which the soul after death can climb to the underworld.
A description of the experience
Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy
At this time they have their first ecstatic experience; they meet an Indian, who is really a benevolent spirit (Tukajana). ‘Come, novice. You shall go up to the sky by Grandfather Vulture’s ladder. It is not far’. The apprentice climbs a sort of spiral ladder and thus reaches the first storey of the sky, where he passes through Indian villages and cities inhabited by Whites.