Earth's Children

Totems are animal spirits revered by both the Clan and Cro-Magnon. They are believed to be spirits that represent a certain animal and act as guides and protectors. 

Clan beliefs[]

The Clan place far more importance on totems and worship of totems that the ones they call the Others do. Totems appear to to be the closest thing to deities the Clan have, after they no longer worshipped the Ancient Ones. The Clan believed that everyone has a personal totem; if an infant survives to its naming day, then a clan's mog-ur determines their totem. The clan's mog-ur meditated to discover the totem spirits of infants and revealed his revelation to the entire clan during a ceremony.

Males tend to have stronger or predatory animals as their totems, whilst females tend to have weaker or herbivorous animals. This is not always the case, however: Iza, a medicine woman, had a saiga antelope totem, which was considered unusually strong for a woman, and her adoptive daughter, Ayla, had a cave lion totem, which was believed to be one of the most powerful totems, besides Ursus, the Great Cave Bear, who was believed to be the totem of the whole Clan, though he could be a personal protector for mog-urs. All totem spirits were male, and most were mammals, although birds occasionally served as totem spirits. The power of a totem was correlated with the power of the animal, with large or predatory animals being stronger than small or non-predatory animals. The Cave Bear was the strongest totem, followed by the Cave Lion.

Usually, people had certain personality traits associated with a particular totem; for example, Broud, whose totem is a wooly rhinoceros, is often described as being hot-blooded and blindly lashing out the way a rhino does. Sometimes, a totem personally 'claimed' a person; Creb and Ayla were both examples of this, as both survived attacks from the animal their totem embodied - Ayla in particular received claw marks on her leg that resembled the Clan symbol for the cave lion. 

The Clan believes that totems provide protection and guidance to the people they are 'assigned' to. All clan members wore an amulet containing a piece of red ochre, which anchored the totem to its ward. Totem spirits became restless and might even abandon their wards if a clan was homeless for too long. The Clan believed that if a person had to make a difficult decision, he or she should meditate and ask his totem for guidance. If they made the right decision, the totem might leave a sign to let the person know that it was the right decision. Such signs were often unusual objects, such as stones or fossils. Totem signs were personal and could not be interpreted by anyone else. They often place these objects into their amulets and will try to do as their totem desires. Sometimes, if a totem's will appears to be strong enough, it can influence an entire clan - for example, Ayla's Cave Lion totem was believed to want her to hunt so strongly, that her clan enacted a ritual to allow her to hunt, unwilling to defy her totem's wishes. The Clan believes their totems need a cave or other permanent home to live in, or else they will grow restless and, in severe circumstances, could even abandon a clan, leaving them without protection. Hence, it is highly important a clan always have a place to live. Angry spirits could also inflict disaster or misfortune on a clan.

In addition to serving as guides and defenders, totems are also believed to affect conception. The Clan believes that once a month, a woman 'swallowed' the spirit of a man's totem. (this was usually the totem spirit of her mate but could be that of any nearby man.) If the woman's totem defeated the man's totem, she bled (menstruated) and would be safe from pregnancy for another month. If the man's totem was victorious, the woman became pregnant. Therefore, it was important for a man's totem to be stronger than that of his mate. This is why women with unusually strong totems are sometimes a cause for concern, as people worry their totem cannot be easily defeated and so could cause difficulty in conceiving. This was particularly the case for Ayla, with few people even believing she could become pregnant because her totem was so powerful. When she did fall pregnant, there was much speculation as to which man's totem had defeated the Cave Lion, with some theorising that several totems worked together to defeat the Cave Lion. Iza was another example; her saiga antelope totem was believed to be too strong to be overcome when she didn't fall pregnant for many years. It should be noted, however, that Iza was secretly taking a contraceptive tea known only to medicine women, in order to prevent pregnancy and shame her mate, who was a cruel and abusive man. The only totem who never allows his essence to be swallowed by a woman's totem is Ursus, the Cave Bear spirit. 

The Clan have individual symbols for totems, which are placed on certain parts of the body - left for males and right for females. When an infant or child receives his or her totem, they have its symbol drawn onto their body with red ochre. When a boy makes his first kill and becomes a man, he has his totem's symbol permanently tattooed on, though women do not have this.

It is possible for a person to have two totems, though this is rare and only happens in special circumstances. One of the only known cases of this was Creb. His birth totem was a roe deer, but as a child, he was attacked by a cave bear, leaving him severely scarred and crippled. The Mog-Ur of the time believed this meant that Ursus had personally chosen Creb, marking him as his own. Thus, Creb could claim both the roe deer and the cave bear as his totems. Creb believed that Ursus took his eye and gave him scars in exchange for his great spiritual gifts. 

When a person dies, their totem is still believed to protect them, guiding their spirit to the afterlife. People can also ask their totem to provide protection for other people, including those that have passed on, with Ayla asking both her Cave Lion totem and Ursus to guide the spirit of Thonolan after she finds him dead of a cave lion attack, as she does not know his totem. Those who are not Clan also have totems; Ayla was given a totem upon being accepted into Brun's clan, and she later attributed the Cave Lion as the totem of Jondalar

Known Clan Totems[]

Totem Known Bearers Symbol
Aurochs Droog, Goov
Bison Brun U
Boar Borg Corkscrew
Brown Bear Grod
Cave Bear all mog-urs
Cave Lion Ayla, Rydag Four parallel lines
Ibex an injured hunter
Roe Deer Creb
Woolly Rhinoceros Broud Two curved lines joined at a point
Beaver Ovra
Gray Wolf Durc
Hamster Oda
Owl Ona Circle
Saiga Antelope Iza

Cro-Magnon beliefs[]

Cro-Magnon also believe in totems and have respect for them, but totems are not as powerful nor as significant in their culture. Amongst the Zelandonii, at the least, only some people have a totem, rather than all people. Generally, only people personally chosen and marked by a totem, such as Creb was, are able to claim that animal's spirit as their personal totem. An example of this would be Willamar, who as a young child was attacked by a golden eagle. His mother was able to hold onto him, saving him, though he was left with permanent scars. Afterwards, Willamar could claim the spirit of the Golden Eagle as his totem. Willamar believed some traits of the Eagle rubbed off on him so to speak; like the Eagle, he had a restlessness and loved to travel. 

European lion

A cave lion, the totem of Ayla and Jondalar

Jondalar is believed to have a Cave Lion totem, after narrowly surviving being attacked by one on his Journey. Ayla is the first to suggest his totem is the Cave Lion, under Clan beliefs. Zelandoni Who Is First later reaffirms that Jondalar can probably claim the Cave Lion as his totem, with the spirit having personally claimed him. Ayla is happy about this, as she initially believes that Jondalar's totem will be strong enough to defeat her's and they can have a child together, though she later comes to realise that conception is caused by the physical act of sexual intercourse. Ayla's Cave Lion totem was formally recognized by the Clan, but because she survived a cave lion attack, she would also have been protected by this totem according to the beliefs of her own people. 

Known Cro-Magnon Totems[]