How you open and close the reading depends on your personal spiritual beliefs. Some spiritual traditions have prescribed ways of performing divination rituals, while others do not. I find that having a set way of doing things makes for a more relaxed client, and a more relaxed diviner.
I recommend that you set your space up before the client arrives. Have your reading surface laid out, bones ready to throw, and have any other tools such as pointers, cleansing waters, or items you like to have in your divination space set up and ready to go.
While I like to do my personal rituals, prayers and invocations before the client arrives, some bone readers like to do them with client present. I have had readings from diviners whose prayers and invocations are said in a way that allowed me to participate if I wanted to, or to just listen quietly. I have also been to diviners whose prayers and invocations were obviously meant to be between the diviner and the spirits they work with.
A few pleasantries when the client arrives helps put everyone at ease. You can ask what brought the client to you, and whether they have a specific area of concern or just want a “general” reading. Even if they have a specific area of concern, the first throw you do usually sheds some light on the issue. If it doesn’t you could do a second quick throw to ask about the specific area of concern.
A simple grounding or other calming exercise or ritual done with the client can also be helpful. Getting a reading is nerve wracking for most people and anything you can do to get the client into a peaceful frame of mind will be helpful and appreciated.
I like to have the client pray silently to whatever deity they believe in and I like to walk them through a simple ancestor invocation. I have them ask their deities and spirits for guidance and I have them thank their deities and spirits before I throw the bones.
Once they are done with that, I give them the basket of bones and ask them to blow their question into the bones three times. If they are a distance client, I ask their full name and blow their name into the bones three times for them. Then I cast and start reading.
I do not have a closing ritual that I do with the client. At the end of the reading the client is usually deep in thought about what they have just been told. I had the client give thanks to their deities, ancestors, and spirits at the beginning of the reading, so there is no need for them to do anything at the end. Some may feel that a more formal closing is called for to bring the client back to the ordinary, but I have found that gentle conversation will do the same. I like to exchange pleasantries and I always ask the client to let me know how things turn out.
I always light a tealight candle for my readings, and once the client is gone I place this candle on my altar to keep the energy going for the client. I give thanks to God, my ancestors, and spirits while I do so. I put the bones back into their basket and spray them with a scented water to clear out the client’s energy. Then I go on to the next reading or go on with my day.
My opening and closing style developed organically over time through trial and error. I found out what worked and did not work for me by trying different ways of doing things. You may adopt a similar style, or you may want something more, or less formal by way of opening and closing. If you are a member of a spiritual tradition with prescribed rituals for this type of work, you will be using those invocations and rituals. You will find out what works best for you over time.
Some things to consider including when devising your opening and closing rituals:
Prayers, whether prescribed by your spiritual tradition, written by you, or done extemporaneously
Invocations of ancestors, and/or other spiritual entities
Offerings for the spirits – light, water, scent, tobacco or whatever your spirits prefer
Sacred items – you may like to have certain items in your reading area or on your person such as crystals, beads or other jewelry, rattles, bells, drums, statues, or figurines
Cleansing materials – these may be used before or after each reading to clear the previous client’s energy from the bones, from the space, and even from yourself
Anything that you feel will help create the proper energy and mood for your reading
Once you formulate an opening and closing practice, go over it until you are familiar with it so that you can enter the reading space as relaxed and confident as possible. I recommend keeping things brief and easy to remember. But, if you make a mistake don’t fret – your client likely will not know the difference.