totem


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totem

(tō`təm), an object, usually an animal or plant (or all animals or plants of that species), that is revered by members of a particular social group because of a mystical or ritual relationship that exists with that group. The totem—or rather, the spirit it embodies—represents the bond of unity within a tribe, a clan, or some similar group. Generally, the members of the group believe that they are descended from a totem ancestor, or that they and the totem are "brothers." The totem may be regarded as a group symbol and as a protector of the members of the group. In most cases the totemic animal or plant is the object of taboo: it may be forbidden to kill or eat the sacred animal. The symbol of the totem may be tattooed on the body, engraved on weapons, pictured in masks, or (among Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest) carved on totem poles. In some cultures males have one totem and females another, but, generally speaking, totemism is associated with clans or blood relatives. Marriage between members of the same totemic group is commonly prohibited.

Bibliography

See J. G. Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy (4 vol., 1910; repr. 1968); E. Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1915, repr. 1965); S. Freud, Totem and Taboo (1918, repr. 1960); A. Goldenweiser, History, Psychology, and Culture (1933); C. Lévi-Strauss, Totemism (tr. 1963).

Totem

The emblem of an individual family or clan, usually represented by an animal.

totem

See TOTEMISM.

Totem

 

according to primitive beliefs, a natural object, whether living (for example, an animal or plant) or inanimate, that is related to a particular family group.

What does it mean when you dream about a totem?

In American culture, we usually think of animals carved upon a tree trunk by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest (totems were also found among ancient cultures throughout the world). These carvings of sacred animals would embody their stories and myths. Perhaps the dreamer has a story that needs to be deciphered. The type of animal on the totem pole will indicate the direction of interpretation.

totem

1. (in some societies, esp among North American Indians) an object, species of animal or plant, or natural phenomenon symbolizing a clan, family, etc., often having ritual associations
2. a representation of such an object
References in periodicals archive ?
Veamos de que manera comprende Freud el totem y el totemismo.
The story of the WCC's Canadian totem pole will be preserved through a display that will be unveiled during a meeting of the council's central committee in February, and located near where the pole once stood and where its remains now lie being reclaimed by the soil.
I was so impressed by what I had seen that when I returned I decided to carve two totem poles.
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Here can be seen the best collection in the northwest of totem poles standing in their original sites.
they married that they were both interested in totem poles.
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But the Tlingit endure, as evidenced by more than 70 totem poles that still stand in the area.
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The intellectual totem not only encapsulates the company's philosophy in short form, but also conveys a sense of purpose, positioning the company against its competitors and challenging employees to continually improve.
So the company commissioned Tony Hunt, a Native Canadian artist, to carve a totem pole for its reception area in 1985.