It sounded as if a lady who had money wanted to buy her way into heaven -- with that said, that's about all I understood of the song that seemed rather dark at the seams, with it's mystical, ambiguous language, all the while speaking about "heaven".Led Zepplin became popular when I still in high school and I was rather off put by their lyrics and their on stage persona...Because there were same words on the song 'American Pie', too. One thing you have in common, in greater or lesser degree, is a degree of interest.
That being said, some meanings embedded in this song became obvious to me in the mid 1970s.
Surprisingly, the comments do not address some metaphorical or metaphysical aspects, and do not consider important cultural movements that were contemporaneous during the time of the initial creation and release of Stairway to Heaven.
Just as an aside, Robert Plant's reaction to Heart playing "Stairway To Heaven" at the Kennedy Center, in the band's honor, was probably more of discomfort and pain.
Many felt that he was deeply touched by all the performances in their honor, but when Heart got up to sing, "Stairway" Robert Plant appeared very uncomfortable -- almost horrified.
It is not coincidental listening to "Stairway" backwards that the name of "Satan" surfaces 6 times.