Arthur E. Waite - The Pictorial Key to the Tarot :
The variation from the conventional models in this card is only that the lamp is not enveloped partially in the mantle of its bearer, who blends the idea of the Ancient of Days with the Light of the World It is a star which shines in the lantern. I have said that this is a card of attainment, and to extend this conception the figure is seen holding up his beacon on an eminence. Therefore the Hermit is not, as Court de Gebelin explained, a wise man in search of truth and justice; nor is he, as a later explanation proposes, an especial example of experience. His beacon intimates that "where I am, you also may be."
It is further a card which is understood quite incorrectly when it is connected with the idea of occult isolation, as the protection of personal magnetism against admixture. This is one of the frivolous renderings which we owe to Eliphas Levi.
It has been adopted by the French Order of Martinism and some of us have heard a great deal of the Silent and Unknown Philosophy enveloped by his mantle from the knowledge of the profane. In true Martinism, the significance of the term Philosophe inconnu was of another order.
It did not refer to the intended concealment of the Instituted Mysteries, much less of their substitutes, but - like the card itself - to the truth that the Divine Mysteries secure their own protection from those who are unprepared.
P. D. Ouspensky – The Symbolism Of The Таrot :
After long wanderings over a sandy, waterless desert where only serpents lived, I met the Hermit.
He was wrapped in a long cloak, a hood thrown over his head. He held a long staff in one hand and in the other a lighted lantern, though it was broad daylight and the sun was shining.
"The lantern of Hermes Trismegistus", said the voice, "this is higher knowledge, that inner knowledge which illuminates in a new way even what appears to be already clearly known. This lantern lights up the past, the present and the future for the Hermit, and opens the souls of people and the most intimate recesses. of their hearts."
"The cloak of Apollonius is the faculty of the wise man by which he isolates himself, even amidst a noisy crowd; it is his skill in hiding his mysteries, even while expressing them, his capacity for silence and his power to act in stillness.
"The staff of the patriarchs is his inner authority, his power, his self-confidence."
The lantern, the cloak and the staff are the three symbols of initiation. They are needed to guide souls past the temptation of illusory fires by the roadside, so that they may go straight to the higher goal. He who receives these three symbols or aspires to obtain them, "strives to enrich himself with all he can acquire, not for himself, but, like God, to delight in the joy of giving".
"The giving virtue is the basis of an initiate's life.
"His soul is transformed into 'a spoiler of all treasures' so said Zarathustra.
"Initiation unites the human mind with the higher mind by a chain of analogies. This chain is the ladder leading to heaven, dreamed of by the patriarch".