Sanctuary Totem Explanation 101:
They come in 4 different strengths green, blue, purple and orange...
Each one has its own primary attribute which is set to that charm but also has a sub attribute which can be changed by reforging it if you want a better one.
Each charm depending on the color will have a % and the % goes up 2% each color but the sub attribute has its own color and therefore its own %.
For example you can have a purple with 6% main attribute but it's secondary could be blue at 4% or green at 2%, this is where you might reforge to get a better %.
Now if you want to upgrade them to increase their % then you just upgrade them using a fire breath item, you can obtain these by events such as calendar or if you have charms that are not going to be useful then you disassemble them and get some of these breaths.
When the blue, purple and orange reach a certain level then they will unlock a third attribute.
All attributes can be locked if you find one you like.
You also get % bonus for matching charms, so if you get 2 Lava Jaws ones doesn't matter what color as long as the pic is of a Lava Jaw then you get 8% bonus, match 4 you get 12%, match 6 you get 16%, match all 8 and you get 20%. These are % on top of what you are already getting.
As you can see here, 2 blue ones but one has a green sub and the other a blue sub
If you disassemble one that you upgraded to say level 8, then you would get 80% of the fire that was put into it back