The ceremony of Akan Iwa, the Soul Binding, is holy for the Aiata people. It is the final step of a relationship, and for a people who follow the love gods with great reverence, such an occasion is one of their most sacred. It is generally performed when lovers wish to graduate to living together, though many do so without undergoing the Soul Binding and some will never choose to undertake it. The ceremony can be equated to marriage in most cultures. It is as legally binding, though the Aiata have no concept of property sharing in marriage. All things belong to their original owner, with both women and men holding full rights. The multi-directional aspect of relationships in their culture making anything else potentially confusing. Those who have been bound in Akan Iwa form an Iwa, a sacred relationship circle.
The ceremony of the Akan Iwa was largely suppresed under the Sheven Empire, who instituted their own marriage customs, requiring marriage between man and women. The ceremony itself is old, and has changed over the centuries, with the original origins lost by the present time. It was once conducted by elders, but when the worship of the Love Gods increased over the centuries, it began to be conducted by their priests. The Akan Iwa of a member of the holy family of Ar Pentin is traditionally conducted by Xewkan themself, who the Aiata call Cina Ang.
The ceremony is traditionally conducted on the first day of the week. However, preparation begins days before. The parties who intend to bind in the ceremony spend a period of five days apart, spent in deep consideration of their relationship. At the end of the five days they must declare their love anew or end the relationship. They are then taken by their families to the local temple of Cina Ang or the Four, the choice varying on personal preference. At the temple, the partners who wish to bind themselves together wash each other ceremonially in blessed water, to cleanse bad spirits. The partners are brought before the statue of the temple's gods, and pray. The priest at this time calls upon the gods for blessings, and speaks a sacred prayer. The partners are then taken to a sacred chamber in the center of the temple, where they are expected to consummate the relationship. This chamber is usually maintained as the most important part of a temple; incense is burned, bejeweled statues of of the temple's gods are set upon an altar, and clean linens and sacred oils are kept here. When they emerge, the priest blesses each member of the Iwa with blessed water again, and declares them bound in soul.