Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Totem is a word of Native American origin commonly taken to mean any natural or supernatural object, being or animal which has personal symbolic meaning to an individual and to whose phenomena and energy one feels closely associated with during one's life.

If the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is a totem.

A simplified dramatic example of this belief in practice is in the Walt Disney Pictures animated film, Brother Bear. In the film, a boy from a proto-Inuit tribe receives a totem of the Bear, which represents Love. Although he initially rejects it, by the end of the story he follows its ideals more literally than anyone ever dreamed possible.

See also totem pole.