The Hermit is the wanderer, the Old Wise Man. He walks at a measured pace and does not look over his shoulder, the past, and has already assimilated those experiences. He also does not look to the horizon, the future, for seeking potential. Rather, he represents the immediate present, and has wide open eyes to receive it based on his own illumination.
The Hermit’s lamp can be seen as the individual’s mystical insight, opening up illumination. The flame represents spirit inherent in all of life and serves as a beacon to dispel darkness and spiritual chaos. The lamp penetrates the spiritual darkness, creating insights to the present day’s meaningful patterns. He sees the presents’ interrelationship with both the future and the past. The lamp also illuminates the Hermit’s inner darkness.
His message is to observe and listen, not to become the Hermit. He instead teaches solitude, which renews our energy to take action, and focuses on our sense of identity and our role in the world.
Source: Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey, by Sallie Nichols