Since antiquity stars have been assigned to two coordinates: a right ascension value and a declination value.
Right Ascension refers to the angular distance of a star measured east from a common point. That point was chosen by Hipparchus two thousand years ago. He used the point at which the sun was located at the vernal equinox. In his day this point was in Aries; thus Right Ascension began as 00 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds in Aries. Nowadays, because of precession, this point has moved into Pisces but it is still termed the First Point of Aries.
The sky was thusly divided into twenty-four hours. Since a circle has 360 degrees there are fifteen degrees in every hour of right ascension.
To see how this works, look at Orion. You'll find that Orion is spread roughly between 4 hours 45 minutes and 6 hours 15 minutes of right ascension.
Now, looking at the left column of the graphics you find the Declension, in degrees.
Declination is defined as the angular distance north or south of the celestial equator. Northern declinations are positive (+), southern declinations are negative. As the declinations define a semi-circle from the south pole to the north pole, they cover a total of 180º. That is, there is a range of 0º to +90º for northern stars and a range of 0º to -90º for southern stars.
The celestial equator runs just north of the Belt of Orion, just south of Pisces and just north of Libra, right around the celestial globe.
Betelgeuse has a declination of 7º 24" (roughly) and Rigel's is -08º 12". This is a difference of a little over 15.5º. So you could describe Rigel as 10º west of Betelgeuse and 15.5º south.
If your binoculars have a field of vision of 7.5º, it takes two fields to reach from Betelgeuse to Rigel.
Circumpolar constellations take a little more thought. Looking at Ursa Major, you'll see that it too has its RA increasing right to left, from 8 hours to 14 hours. Thus this constellation is spread over 90º (6x15), in other words a quarter of the sky.
In the spring Ursa Major is high in the sky, upside down. The handle points eastward, and indeed its stars are properly arranged so things which appear east are actually to the east.
When you see Ursa Major in the winter, low in the sky and right side up, it is actually reversed. The handle now points westward -- or downward as it does around midnight as I write this, in mid-December. Thus to describe an object as "east of zeta" can be confusing.
On the web page for Ursa Major I describe M101 as 5.5º east of zeta. If you were to try to find this spiral galaxy in winter, looking east of zeta would take you in the opposite direction! What the directions mean is that M101 has a higher RA than zeta. If you look at the graphic and realise that higher right ascension objects now appear west you won't have any problems.
It sounds a bit complicated and we'll use various means to find stars in the northern skies to avoid the confusion. But you should be aware of this difference in direction, when you are looking south and when you turn to look north.