KC the totem you are describing is either a pulse totem or a decoy totem
there are 5 different totems
decoy totem (skill), rejuvenation totem (skill), flame totem (skill), pulse totem (skill), and spell totem (support). you need the spell totem to attach to a spell (skill). all the skill gems have hard edges, those are standalone skills. the support gem is the one you want. support gems are spherical. you can link the spell totem support gem to most spells (blue skill gems). if you link any of the totem skill gems to a spell gem then you will wind up with 2 skills that work independently.
the spell totem support gem will show up on your icon as whatever spell you have linked with it. so if you have a fireball linked to the spell totem, the icon will be fireball with the letter T.