The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: Harry Potter’s Evanna Lynch and Her Heartfelt Memoir, Part 1

Luna Lovegood is not just one of my favorite Harry Potter characters but of thousands if not millions of fans around the world. Luna’s simplicity, authenticity, and oddly elegant ability to be herself, even if awkward to anyone else around, has been an inspiration for many and became a beacon of light, a life preserver tossed to Evanna herself from the HP scripts and wardrobe department. Luna helped actress Evanna Lynch create a space to breathe, showed her how to loosen the ties she bound too tightly around herself, and gave her the permission to carve out a soft, safe place within her own mind where she could find some moments of peace. Luna was, in a sense, a relief valve for Evanna.

In her memoir, The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and Glory of Growing Up, Evanna bravely and candidly opens up about her rollercoaster ride with anorexia, coming to terms with the inner voice of inferiority and being her own worst enemy. This, my dear friends, is quite an opposite image of the beloved character whom Evanna brought to life in the legendary Harry Potter series. Actors are real people with real issues and in her book Evanna boldly shares the difficult journey she has endured.

Using 8/16/1991 4:45a.m. Termonfeckin, Ireland with an A Rating from Astro Databank, Evanna’s Vedic Astrology chart (sidereal system) has Cancer Rising with Moon in Libra 4th House and Sun in Cancer 1st House. As with all charts, there’s much to glean, explore, and discover. I will attempt to stay focused on what is showing around the eating disorder and negative thinking that Evanna tormented herself with through most of her childhood and quite frankly may still do on rough days as she confirms on page 424 of her book:

But I can’t deny that there are still times when I long for the thing that numbed all joy and pain, when I look back on those days as the only time I had my life all figured out, when I truly miss my eating disorder. I’m ashamed to share these thoughts aloud, though. I’m supposed to be some kind of role model. I allegedly worked this out years ago. I’m not allowed to look back and wonder, was the other path the right one? And yet I do, and I can’t remember the moment I chose this one. I have so many unanswered questions about the line between self-destruction and self-creation, and I have to ask them.”

First of all, Evanna’s Sun is at the last degree of Cancer, just at the edge before it would shift into Leo. When a planet is positioned at the last degrees of a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces) and a degree from a Fire sign (Leo, Sagittarius, or Aries), the planet is in a condition called gandanta. Gand means knot and anta means end. This symbolizes a deep challenge in the life of the individual. They have to unravel something within themselves but in the process feel out of control and tangled. A knot at the end of a rope symbolically shows how the individual may literally feel like they’re at ‘the end of their rope’ but through perseverance can free themselves and transform their lives. This position gives the person much to overcome and offers unexpected opportunity for spiritual growth. This occurs in Evanna’s chart with her Sun (self/ego) located in the Ascendant/1st House (self-image, appearance). Her memoir shares in detail the story of this struggle.

With Sun in 29 degrees Cancer and Jupiter 0 degrees Leo, Jupiter is gandanta, too, and also combust. Astronomically, when a planet is combust, it’s too close to the Sun from our view on Earth. The Sun outshines the planet, rendering it virtually invisible. Astrologically, whatever the combust planet represents outwardly will be challenged. Jupiter represents both a husband and children. At 31 years old at the time of this writing, Evanna hasn’t been married or had any children, which, I believe, she is fine with (to some degree). She indicates in the memoir that she’s really not interested in motherhood for herself (however, not everything once written remains how one feels later, which is the tricky thing about writing a memoir). In any event with this combustion, the light of the Sun illuminates and brings to life the inner depths of Jupiter stuff- like grace, philosophy, altruism, and charity, and this inwardly-lit Jupiter shines through Evanna- through her voice, her performance, her writing, her activism. The problem here is that the Sun (which represents self-image and the ego) is overpowering and both planets are gandanta, creating confusion and hardship that obstructs the benefits of the external Jupiterian things in her life until those internal ‘knots’ are untied.

In these conditions, both the Sun and Jupiter are unstable. Jupiter happens to be positioned in the 2nd House, which rules (among other things) what we eat and drink, hence the connection between how she feels about her looks and appointing her diet to be an illusory source of control. With Jupiter as the indicator of children, Evanna’s years of malnutrition while battling anorexia could possibly have had a negative impact on her fertility (even if she wanted a child, it might be difficult). Externally, Jupiter in the 2nd House could present issues around indulgence and over-eating. But gandanta and combust, its like a reversal, giving her the ability to restrain her diet and uphold her attitude about dieting with the inner justification of a bad habit. Evanna also explains that behind the eating disorder is the underlying cause: worthlessness. Jupiter is the planet of hope and optimism, the driving force that pushes us towards our purpose in life and without its grace, we feel worthless.

She also has retrograde Mercury, Mars, and retrograde Venus in her 2nd House. That is a lot of energy in the house of food! It’s no wonder she’s put so much emphasis there. Let’s break these down. Mercury is communication and nerves; in the 2nd House, it makes sense that she’s written a book and does public speaking about anorexia. Often, but not always the case, retrograde Mercury makes communication through the written word easier than talking. Mercury retrograde often causes misunderstandings or an inability to feel validated and truly heard when talking or trying to explain herself and how she feels. It’s also possible that the nerves and nervous system play a part in the physical, chemical, and psychological triggers of anorexia.

When Evanna was justifying the eating disorder as something ‘good’ to do but couldn’t get her parents and siblings to really listen to her so that they’d believe it, too (of course they couldn’t), anger and frustration easily came into the picture, and we see this by Mars in the 2nd House. Mars is the planet that represents anger and a heated temper. At its worst in Evanna’s case, Mars will be defensive and zealously protect (even violently and abusively) combust Jupiter’s wrongly justified insistence that restricting food intake is the thing to do. And in Leo, Mars can explode in fiery frenzies and tantrums, all as an external muddled expression of her inner turmoil regarding her own distorted body image.

Her Venus (the planet who typically seeks pleasure- enjoying social settings and indulging in sweets, for example) is working with combust Jupiter in restraining her diet to the bare minimum in its retrogression. Venus is also the planet of femininity which has an impact on how she feels about herself. Venus is not only retrograde but conjunct two masculine planets (Jupiter and Mars) and a gender neutral planet (Mercury- who will act like the planets around it when in conjunction), challenging the benefic qualities of Venus (such as a healthy attitude toward one’s own female body). Retrograde Venus makes relationships difficult, especially with both social settings and intimacy, and gives Evanna an inwardly focused, more introverted nature which tends to make relating to others awkward unless there’s a common bond of understanding and mutual acceptance. This retrograde Venus is also the ruler of Evanna’s Moon.

The Moon shows our feelings, our ability to love (self and others) and to be loved and to have joy in life. Our emotions are filtered and experienced through the Moon. Ultimately, the Moon seeks unconditional love of oneself and others- as they are. Evanna’s Moon is comfortable in the 4th House where it gains directional strength (dig bala). But it’s a lonely Moon (no planets occupy the houses on either side of its position) and the only aspect to the Moon is from a triple strong Saturn, who creates hardship, obstacles, and anxiety due to criticism, fear, doubt and worry. This is a heavy burdensome energy pounding her natal Moon.

The triple strength of Saturn is a huge factor on, not only her Moon (feelings), but also her self-image (the Sun). We see this happening with Saturn overpowering the Sun, who astrologically speaking, is weakened in gandanta. The harshness, cruelty, coldness and rigidity of Saturn’s shadow side interferes with her ability to embrace herself for who she is, to be fine with her body and physicality. These strong impulses of Saturn constantly cause her to doubt her feelings and puts so much negative emphasis on her appearance. This occurs with Saturn aspecting the Sun (self-image and identity) and the 1st House/Ascendant (physical appearance). Saturn brings the fear, criticism and pressure making Evanna her own worst enemy, navigating negative beliefs about herself; and with the four planets in the 2nd House– because of the condition three of the four are in– eating became an outlet of self-expression, or more accurately a misguided coping mechanism. In her book she writes:

“I remember how I looked at my wrists and I couldn’t help but see my future. I wanted to hurt, I wanted to bleed. I knew my body was disgusting, shameful, and totally unlovable, but somewhere in the very distant future, I dreamed that maybe I could be something more than just thin. I saw myself working and dancing and acting and performing- and I saw myself doing so with pale, unblemished wrists.” (page 270 of her memoir)

Saturn’s aspect to both the Sun and Moon shows the challenges put upon her parents (Sun- father, Moon-mother) particularly during those times when Evanna came crashing down on herself, hating everything in and of the world while unable to find her way out of the darkness of self-created misery. Her parents struggled right along with her in their own ways- in pain when she was in pain, confused, willing to help in any way possible in the only ways they understood.

Evanna briefly mentions her interest in astrology and I wonder if she’s learned about Saturn and getting in touch with the good things Saturn represents in order to work on channeling her energy in the direction of Saturn’s light, not its darkness. At its best, Saturn gives us the ability to handle the truth, accept life and things as they are, and be okay with it (Hello, Luna!). Saturn gives us the ability to be alone without being lonely, the skill of quieting the mind, enjoying solitude and finding the answers and understanding in our hardships. Saturn gives us stability, determination, and the ability to overcome. Saturn is the voice of reason and the long-term disciplinary, the wise sage showing Evanna that through hard work she can break free of her misinformed body image. In Evanna’s 7th House of relationships, Saturn may delay or obstruct chances of a happy, successful marriage (not impossible!). Saturn’s presence there expects full honesty and long-lasting friendships and/or business partnerships. Saturn gives the ability to be alone but in the 7th House doesn’t necessarily want to be alone (after all, its energy is in the house of others). But Saturn requires space and partners who can understand that going off and being alone has nothing to do with them but a natural, healthy, necessary exercise in self-love and care. This Saturn also gives Evanna the ability to work hard (all her life) and watch it pay off. This is, after all, a Mahapurusha Yoga (Saturn’s Shasha Yoga), which, while burdening the Moon and challenging the already challenged Sun, gives her longevity and an underlying motivation to be truthful, authentic, and accomplished.

I hope Evanna continues working with the positive gifts that Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars offer as well in the hopes of ironing out the ripples of negativity festering in her 2nd House of food and diet. With Mercury, she should continue writing, jouraling, and using her voice in acting and in advocacy. Mercury is also the planet who rules business and commerce, so active involvement with marketing, selling, and publishing are great outlets for her. With Venus, Evanna should continue artistic activities- whether through hobbies at the crafting table, her love of dance and circus performance, or acting and the theater- in fun and creative ways that will help her appreciate her body, to support and cultivate a soft place to land, to breathe, to be at ease with herself physically and equally at ease within herself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. With Jupiter- who besides spouse and children, also represents law and justice, she should continue expanding her learning and her activism and push herself to continue to improve her own values and ethics, her overall well being, and her career but with clear boundaries and realisitic goals. With Mars, Evanna should contiue being the warrior she is, but fight the right fight and harness all the Leo energy into a blend of self-love and love for others and one of generosity and gratitude. Evanna’s heart is in the right place but because of the 2nd House shadowy energies manifesting in unhealthy ways over the years, she has had a rough journey just trying to be okay with herself, making it almost impossible for her to realize everything about her is fine and in some cases extraordinary! She mustn’t be so hard on herself. We all have bodies and no one’s is perfect. No matter what you think, no matter how prestigious a career or address or bank account.

The rough inner dialogue and disgracing thoughts of the human body that come across in Evanna’s dialogue (especially towards herself) need to be elevated to the spiritual understanding that we are not our body but need one for our soul to express through, to experience and share and learn. Saturn’s heavy aspects to the Sun and Moon confront her very Being and feeling nature while Jupiter is weakened, and the focus of Venus and Mercury is turned inward. This gives her great difficulty to have compassion for herself. Add to that- too much focus on appearances in this social media driven world can quickly squash all the positivity out of a sensitive soul who’s already struggling, abusing, and punishing herself with destructive thoughts on her own. It’s quite interesting that through all of the inner struggle with physical approval and acceptance, she has fallen into a highly public career that depends on her physical body- and ironically, despite the unseen battle, has won the hearts of fans worldwide. (I hope she understands what that means!) No matter where her career does or doesn’t take her, Evanna will always be Luna Lovegood to so many. Yet to some degree this is, in itself, showing her innate resolve to push through and live the life she dreams of, one free of the self-degrading turmoil.

Aligning with supportive professionals is crucial. The houses of business partners (7th) and doctors for chronic health issues (8th) are both ruled by Saturn, making her strong Saturn the best ally for long-term care. The idea of having supportive friends and family is, of course, ideal- however, in Evanna’s situation they are likely not among the most helpful. This is because the 3rd and 11th houses that represent siblings and friends are ruled by Mercury and Venus, the 4th and 9th houses that represent her parents are ruled by Venus and Jupiter, and these three planets (Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter) are all part of the 2nd House stellium and are in challenged condition conjunct Mars.

Hopefully one day Evanna will find ways to like her body as it is or at least tolerate it to help heal the rift between body, mind, and spirit. I remember watching her gracing the ballroom dance floor with Keo on Dancing With The Stars and wish that she holds within her heart and mind all the good and triumphant feelings from those moments full of beauty, grace, elegance, hardwork, perserverance, triumph, partnership, and friendship and always remember all the people the world over who love her and support her and voted her through to third place. That’s amazing and an inspiration she can carry with her throughout life in addition to the success of her role in Harry Potter. She can do anything she works hard for and, I believe, that includes loving herself as much as her fans love her and acknowledging that she’s pretty great!

In the next post, we’ll look at the nakshatras in Evanna’s chart. Just wow!


Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at

Creative Commons Images of Evanna Lynch:

Luna at Shell Cottage Photo by Jaap Buitendijk,

Portrait by Faye Thomas,

Photo of Evanna’s birth chart courtesy Shri Jyoti Star Vedic Astrology software of which Renate is a licensed user.

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