For thousands of years, Native Americans and other cultures have used Features as sacred objects in rituals. To them, feathers were a representation of a gift from the higher realms, and should be treated with a great deal of respect.
The uses of Feathers are also very reaching. On a purely spiritual level, it was believed that carrying a feather around, especially particular kinds of feathers, would imbue the wearer/carrier with the blessings of the higher realms.
On a more physical level, they were known to be incredibly useful for spreading the smoke of sage, or other incense around in a space to energetically cleanse a space, and create a particular energetic environment.
Just remember, if you find a feather on the ground, it’s a good idea to wash it with Sage smoke. Running the feather through the smoke would cause any mites that could be on the feather to die, which would preserve the feather for a very long time.
There are also interesting Western parallels. The Druids used feather cloaks to assist in their astral projection. The Witches also used a Witches Ladder made of feathers to flood the surroundings with magickal intent, this process was sometimes accompanied by incense which created a kind of smudging. Rudolf Stiner explains that feathers always create a flow of energy from the earth to the sky. Thus feathers literally lift our thoughts and intent into the heavenly realms.