Totem pole of many emotions.
A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe. The totemic symbol may serve as a reminder of the kin group’s ancestry or mythic past. While the term “totem” is Ojibwe in origin, belief in tutelary spirits and deities is not limited to indigenous peoples of the Americas but common to a number of cultures worldwide. Totemistic beliefs are found in regions of Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Arctic. Contemporary neoshamanic, New Age and mythopoetic men’s movements not otherwise involved in the practice of a tribal religion may appropriate and use “totem” terminology for the personal identification with a tutelary spirit or guide.
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