While ''Totems'' are often seen as being Native American or Indigenous in origins actually many World Cultures adopted similar device used in Icon Worship. Totems are wooden or stone carved pieces which range from 6 to 15-feet in height (and often from 8 to 12-inches in diameter). Normally, when constructed from wood, a single piece of Tree is selected. The Tree is suitably ''blessed'' and prepared by a Tribal Shaman for this purpose. Sections of The Totem are partitioned with carvings of various Deities and ''Protector Spirits'' applied. These are painted and decorated, making The Totem very colorful and elaborate. In some Cultures, The Totem could ''hold'' The Spirit of an Ancestor (if used as a Family Icon). The same held true for whole Tribes (who constructed larger Totems). These centralized versions were made to hold primary ''Guardian Spirits'' to The Tribe.
Often, Nature was used as the motif for a Totem. Eagle, Bear, Wolf ''Heads and Faces'' would be carved .Some times, The Totem was used as a ''Spirit Guide'' being the personification of a particular Deity. The removal or destruction of a Totem was seen as extremely bad luck. Even if a Tribe was forced to vacate a Village for any reason The Totem was to remain. Removing it or destroying it would cause all the Deities associated with The Totem to seek ''revenge'' against the transgressors.