Totem Pole

The indigenous people's Totem Pole, and its similarity with the Christian Cross

Totem Pole (and similar)

Totem Cross
Totem Pole in Vancouver's Stanley Park
(Click image to enlarge)

The word 'totem' is derived from Algonquian odoodeman, which is similar to a heraldic emblem of a family or clan.

Lacking a written language, North American Indians utilised totem poles to record their culture for the benefit of future generations. Totem poles have been a visual record of personal or family stories, honouring an individual, tribe or some profound event, or to mark a burial site. Contrary to popular belief, totem poles are not worshipped or used as idols. (An exception is a shamanistic religion called Totemism, where the totem is the spirit of an animal or bird which guides a clan.)

The totem pole shown above is in the shape of a cross, and like the totem pole, the Christian Cross tells a story of something profound that happened 2,000 years ago.

Totem poles are not restricted to Northwest America; in the Near and Middle East, Asherah poles have been excavated indicating their importance to pagans in Old Testament times. Korea has several old totem poles which were decoratively carved as cultural records. They have also been used by the Ainu of Ezochi (Hokkaido, Japan) and the Māori of Aotearoa (New Zealand), to record their cultural beliefs and history.

The Asherah pole is referred to as grove in Jud. 6:25-32


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