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Totem

A totem (Ojibwe dodaem) 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. While the term "totem" is Ojibwe, belief in tutelary spirits and deities is not limited to indigenous peoples of the Americas but common to a number of cultures worldwide, such as Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Arctic. However, the traditional people of those cultures have words for their guardian spirits in their own languages, and do not call these spirits or symbols, "totems". Contemporary neoshamanic, New Age and mythopoetic men's movements not otherwise involved in the practice of a tribal religion may misappropriate and use "totem" terminology for the personal identification with a tutelary spirit or guide.

(Wikipedia)
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