It is the belief of the Ravenwood Elves that their dead, both those that perish of injury and disease, and those who enter the Stillness of the Grey Death, become one with the spirits of the forest, merging with the slow spirits of the trees and rocks and water. These Ancestor spirits are worshiped at shrines set up in the sacred places of the forest.
When an Elf dies members of his family skilled in wood carving will choose a straight pole of fine wood, usually three to five feet in length, and carve the upper part into a representation of the deceased. These portraits are rarely fully lifelike, instead they are stylized depictions of both person and kin, so that a Wolkfin, for example, might be carved as a wolf head with human eyes. Often smaller images representing significant events in that Elf's life are added to the totem.
Once carved the Totem is erected in the Ancestor grove of the Elf's tribe, where family members will come and leave small offerings at Midsummer and Midwinter, or meditate to seek the guidance of the dead Elf's spirit. Sometimes particularly well-loved Elves will have smaller versions of the Totems carved and placed in niches in their family home as well.