In answer to a question: Are there prayers or blessings for the opening and closing of a circle meeting?
Although I've written many examples of Gnostic and Kabbalistic prayers, and likely will continue to do so, there is no set liturgy in the Sophian tradition - there are many traditional invocations that are passed on in the oral tradition that we may use as we feel inclined, but largely our prayers arise from the inspiration of our hearts and the Holy Spirit, they are creative expressions in the power of the moment.
As a general standard, if you will, at the outset we may speak some prayer calling upon Ha-Shem (The Name) and the Divine Powers, and acknowledging the Holy Shekinah with us, the Divine Presence and Power, and we may pray that our gathering brings the light and blessings of God into the world, extending the Light of the True Cross to all beings.
In closing we may speak some prayer of praise and thanksgiving, blessing all who are presence and invoking blessings upon all beings.
A guided meditation can also be used at the outset, coupled with the opening prayer - most of our practices can be modified for this purpose, and if it is a beginner's circle, they can be simplified by circle leaders to be accessible to newcomers.
Exactly what is spoken in prayers, or what meditation might be used, depends upon the nature of the meeting and the teachings being discussed, and it depends on the flow of life in the circle and the world in which its members are living; it depends upon what is inspired and what is happening.
Instead of the guided meditation at the outset, a meditation may be done after some teachings have been given to integrate what has been discussed on an experiential level - there are actually many different options because it is a creative affair.
Much of what might be done depends upon the people drawn to a given circle and their desire to receive and their needs - as would be said, "The angel of each circle or church is different," which is to say that the energy of each group is different, the needs are different.
At the outset, keeping it simple, short and sweet, is wise - then with time the continuum of group practice can grow and evolve, as its members grow and evolve.
One thing we strongly encourage is that circle leaders cultivate a strong continuum of daily practice, and tend something of a continuum before their meetings, inquiring of the indwelling Messiah and Holy Spirit what is to be done, listening and hearing, looking and seeing in the Spirit.
Also, when possible, we encourage circle leaders to create positive and inspiring environments for their meetings, and to set up for meetings well in advance of the arrival of others, and to purify and consecrate that sacred space, and invoke in it before anyone is present - there is much to be said for the energy dimension of a sacred space people are entering into; when a sacred space is well prepared in advance it can have quite an amazing affect upon those who enter and what transpires in it.
There is a teaching in the wonderworking art of the tradition that says that if we create the space and conditions for something to happen or manifest it will come to pass - so a labor to create the environment and conditions for a movement of the Divine Spirit becomes a powerful invocation, theurgical.
In a similar manner, we also strongly encourage circle leaders to pray and meditate for their spiritual friends following a gathering of their circle - to tend the Continuum of Light Transmission before, during and after their meetings. In this regard, it is a distinct practice for circle leaders, reflecting the very same labor as tzaddikim or lineage-holders; the spiritual labor of the holy tzaddik belongs to us all, as does the spiritual labor of the maggidim.
Thus, as you might surmise from this - a meeting of a Gnostic circle in our tradition is something of a process and energetic transmission, and the intention is the creation of a vehicle for Light Transmission; more important that any words we might speak is the spiritual energy within and behind what's transpiring - the play of the Divine Light and Spirit.
Eventually, the celebration of a Holy Wedding Feast can be added to some meetings - especially in circles that keep the Continuum of Shabbat.
This, perhaps, may give you some idea of practices associated with meetings our circles hold - the job of the circle leader, as well as senior members in time, is to be the anchor of the energy for the group, the grounding of the Divine Presence and Power for the people.
May we all be blessed to be a Center of the Divine Action; amen.
Blessings & shalom!
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia