Inception Wiki
Item Information




Used by

Most members of the team

Manufactured by

Each team member crafts their own


An anchor to remind the subject that they are dreaming



Behind the Scenes
First Appearance

Inception: The Cobol Job

I can't let you touch it, that would defeat the purpose. See only I know the balance and the weight of this particular loaded die. That way, when you look at your totem, you know beyond a doubt that you're not in someone else's dream.


An elegant solution for keeping track of reality.


A Totem is an object that is used to test if oneself is in one's own reality (dream or non-dream) and not in another person's dream. A totem has a specially modified quality (such as a distinct weight, balance, or feel) in the real world, but in a dream of someone who does not know it well, the characteristics of the totem will very likely be off. Any ordinary object which has been in some way modified to affect its balance, weight, or feel will work as a totem.

In order to protect its integrity, only the totem's owner should ever handle it. In that way, the owner is able to tell whether or not they are in someone else's dream. In the owner's own dream world, the totem will feel correct.

Totems in Inception

  • Dom Cobb's totem is a spinning tractricoid top that originally belonged to Mal. Should he spin the top and it topples over, he is awake; if it continues to spin, then he is still dreaming.
  • Arthur's totem is a weighted red die. The purpose of the loaded die is to make one side heavier than the rest; therefore when rolled the heavy side will flip down and only the opposite side can face up. Should the upright side of the die be different than the original, he will know he is dreaming.
  • Ariadne's totem is a slightly hollowed-out golden bishop chess piece. She deliberately hollows it out to alter its weight and center of gravity, so that only she can know the exact weight and feel of her totem.
  • Eames' totem is implied to be a red casino poker chip. The use of the poker chip is not entirely clear in the movie; however, it is thought that the chip will multiply in a dream when he rubs his fingers against it.
  • Although Saito does not have a pre-prepared totem, as he is not an extractor, the carpet in his study acts as one in the Saito extraction job.