I wrote to Adam McLean. He replied:
I of course am questioning the last sentence. It seems to me that since both tarot and alchemy used allegorical pictures produced by woodcut or engraving, the producers of each would have been aware of the other and had some idea of their contexts and meaning.Have you read through the German text which this woodcut illustrates? The title of the chapter is 'Die Ewige heimlichkeit redet' which would mean something like - 'The eternal secret is here talked about'. Interestingly the figure of Alchymia has her lips padlocked so she cannot reveal this.
The words on the woodcut refer mostly to books, apart from the two on the locked chest - 'Azot' and 'Thoh' or possibly 'Theh'. These are likely to be secret substances. 'Thoh' is likely to be a contraction, just as Azoth could refer to the beginning and end of things, the letter 'A' being the beginning and 'Z', 'O' omega an 'T' Tav or Tau the final letters latin Greek and Hebrew.
There is also a locked cabinet on the upper left with 'Lavdanvs' or 'laudanus' possibly 'Laudanum' (Tincture of Opium) which was put forward by Paracelsus as a remedy.
Ignore any possible associations with tarot. These did not appear till the
19th century syncretism.
In general, it seems that he doesn't know any more than we do.