Totem is a word that aboriginals used to explain animal spirits. This term can be used for guides that we use. Your guide can show up in a past or dimensional form. Guides may manifest as an animal or even plant life when you are on the healing path. There is always a recognizable aspect of your guide no matter what form they are in.
Like guides, angels help us in our spiritual path. Unlike totems or guides, the spiritual path is the path the angels place us on; to them the physical world is less important. This is why great spiritualists are difficult to understand or may appear to act strangely.