Herbal medicine has a great deal of magickal thought in it. Untangling such thought from actual herbal actions is one of the missions of modern evidence based herbal medicine. However as per the agnostic disjunction the possibility shows itself that magickal interventions cannot be discounted no matter how strange the consequences may seem. The idea repeatedly dealt with by myself on this site is that conceptuality can be treated as a kind of substance that can be seen to be attached to all the regions of existence that we conceptualise. This idea is simply the extension of a chaos magickal ontology into regular philosophy. That is, if conceptual entities can be created then regular conceptual entities are not likely to be of a different order. The substantialisation means that the concept substance can seen as attached to an underlying, what we call ‘vector’ -called so because it plays host to the concept. Elsewhere on the CEO site the concept substance is referred to as pneuma and the sticking together of various concepts accretion (since all concepts are necessarily multiplicities).
It follows from this possibility that there may be accretions of pneuma attached to some vectors, which when examined from a scientific position appear nonsensical. Herbal medicine supplies an excellent example of this kind of thinking in signatures. The doctrine of signatures says that plants which in some way resemble an organ/body part/fluid may be considered as useful for treating the same part in the human. So in applying the accretive theory to this we would say that concept of that plant having a connection to that organ/part/fluid (all of which are also accretions plugged into vectors) is embedded onto the concept of that plant.
Such conceptual attachment is of course usually considered inert and any truth behind signatures is attributed either to chance or that the signature was attributed after the herb was known to be efficacious for a given complaint. These are perfectly rational responses, however all we wish to consider here is the interesting possibility that conceptual attachments due to signatures which have no healing function vector to attach to are actual as pneuminous accretions and hence potentially magickally effective. For example, if I have a plant that looks like kidneys and historically has been used for kidney complaints, then the kidney treatment concept has become attached to the plant (vector) and at a magickal level may well be effective all the way up until a scientific analysis removes this concept from the vector (because it had no actual healing constituents in it), after which it will be much less potent.
What is interesting in this notion of attachment is that, since the pneuminous accretions are not inert they may have potential other interactions with the vector (in this case the plant). Speculatively the idea is that long term accretive attachment of a relatively consistent concept attributed to a vector over large periods of time could create a relation between accretion and vector that would be totally real at what we naively call a magickal level and yet utterly invisible.
A herbalist whom I respect very much says of the plant Iris that it is a facilitator of liver function which is the ‘the house of the ethereal soul or deep unconscious connecting principle’. Is this actually true? What do all these terms really mean? Does it make sense to ask if this is true? If we do not allow for something like the formation of contingent accretions then we would need a kind of spiritual objectivity/better understanding of the way the body interacts with the deep mind to be able to assess this statement. They add further that Iris as meaning the Goddess who used rainbows as bridges between the worlds is linked to the plant for precisely this reason i.e. that soul principle of the liver connects to the deep unconscious, Iris the plant is this bridge. The rich conceptual (accretive) attachment to the vector (the plant we call Iris) may all be metaphor that hints at actual processes.
However if the concept is not inert then there may be a more complicated feedback system going here. These principles of ethereal/unconscious connection through the liver could themselves be accretive structures projected onto a certain occult understanding of the body; embedded in a tradition such structures could function in an autonomous and real manner, literally forging the connection to the unconscious in the liver by the projection. A process of reifying accretive structures over the body vector, feeding back into the body through the pneuminous. The plant contains let us say some real physiological liver action, the vector of this healing action has accreted to it: the Goddess, the messenger, the rainbow bridge. The active pneuminous level of conceptual reality is plugged into the plant vector and its liver action. The magickal associations, the connections to the Goddess (herself and accretion) are (unless a kind of spiritual realism were true) totally contingent yet equally they have been there so long that it becomes hard to tell where vector stops and concept begins.
Of course this is speculation, yet equally that we live in a web of such deep historically constructed vector-accretion webs is only what is entailed by accepting the most rational version of magickal actuality.