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 ?
Their names appear on our "Hoosier helping Hoosier" totem, which was a great fit for our Indianapolis totem pole, as we were building stronger community partners.
It was by the mid-20th century that this encouragement was being recognized as a larger attempt at cultural destruction that bordered on cultural genocide, and "in part to correct such past injustice and to preserve what had been almost entirely destroyed, Duff and his colleagues wanted to salvage these magnificent carvings, such as the totem poles of Sgaang Gwaii.
Metro Totems is the latest installation in the Bridge and it has been drawing curious and admiring glances since it was officially unveiled.
Standing, Kier Reece and Daniel Jones, and, front, Leslie Flynn, Sam Higgitt and Adrian Krygier, Fitzalan High School pupils who helped make the totem pole
In the beginning Brady had a hard time getting the Native people to give him totem poles for the new park in Sitka.
Time has taken its toll on the totem pole, which is partially rotted and unfortunately now constitutes a danger to those who come to see it and to the passers-by from Bossey going about their ordinary business," said WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia in a recent e-mail message to council staff.
Common ancestor, guardian spirit, and helper of the clan, totem is dangerous to outsiders but recognizes and spares its own, thus earning emblematic status as family crest, symbol, or historical record.
In evaluating this project, one observation was that, even though some students drew vertical sketches and were reminded to build vertically; their totems lacked a sense of verticality and didn't quite reflect a totem structure.
Susan Manders, above left, creates art in her sunny Sherman Oaks home, where a totem goddess rests in her yard and the interior is decorated with an eclectic assortment of furnishings, including a glass-topped table and an unusual lighting fixture, opposite.
Scotland's first urban totem pole was created by Scottish carver Kenny Grieves and First Nation carvers Xwa Lack Tun and Jada Harry, from Canada.
Totem Tale: A Tall Story From Alaska by Deb Vanasse combines a lively and original story with skillfully drawn illustrations by Erik Brooks to create the fun tale of a Native American totem pole which comes to life in the beauty of a moon-lit night.
They are to find the third totem as seen in a vision by Kai Alseoun.