Totemism – Jean-Claude Levi-Strauss

Jean-Claude Levi-Strauss
Beacon Press, 1971

This was a vital source for the totemism chapter for my own book on animal magic. It’s a classic anthropological text on the subject as pertains to indigenous cultures around the globe.

Strauss spends much of the time explaining and exploring the various theories about totemism that developed in the first half of the 20th century. The book first came out in 1962, and it’s interesting to trace the deveopment of social anthropology through contemporary quotes.

The information itself is quite solid, and makes for good source material for traditional totemism. It’s not the easiest read in the world, and it comes across as very much an academic text. However, it’s well worth slogging through the lingo (if you aren’t already familiar) and the translation is excellent.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in totemism from any angle, particularly pagans who may yearn for more academic looks at totemism.

Five pawprints out of five.

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