The term maleficia collectively refers to all types of malignant acts, attributed in ancient times to witches and sorcerers, which could have resulted in substantial damage and subsequent death to mankind, animals and/or crops.
Maleficia was connected to a pact with devil in the medieval ages. Natural disasters, sudden accidents, incurable illness and personal catastrophes were attributed to maleficia. In days of witch hunting, any untoward happening or ill fate was linked with maleficia to register more convictions.
Maleficia was thought to involve the use of the evil eye, various incantations, magical potions, hand of glory and effigies to bring curses upon the subject. Its effects were repealed by various charms and potions made from herbs. In ancient times if a wise woman advocated use of a specific remedy to heal a patient and the patient's health worsened then the woman was accused of being a witch who inflicted maleficia on the patient.
In modern times, despite the spread of education, belief in this age-old witchcraft still persists in tribal societies and rural areas entuned with folk magic. Many cultures in Europe still persist in believing in magical powers of amulets and charms to provide protection from general evil. However specific curses unleashed by sorcerery can be combated only by use of specific remedies under the tutelage of another witch or sorcerer.
Neo pagan witches are against the use of maleficia as these actions violate their ethics code that advises witches to do no harm to the living form.