Being along the axis of rotation of the earth
does not seem to move in the sky.
If the sky is clear find a nice comfortable spot and place
a rod pointing at a star near the horizon. After about 10 minutes the star (unless it is polaris) will have drifted
from the rod. If the star has moved towards the
horizon you are pointing in a westerly direction,
likewise if the star has risen up from the horizon
you are looking in an easterly direction.
Some stars will just skim along the horizon instead of rising or setting.
These are the circumpolar* stars. If they move clockwise
in the sky you are pointing north and
at their centre of revoloution is Polaris.
If they are moving anti-clockwise you are in the southern
hemisphere and no amount of searching will find Polaris.
* A circumpolar star is a star that, from the observers point of view, allways circles the celestial pole.
By definition it is a star that never dips below
the horizon. If you are at a lattitude
then any star that has a right ascenscion
ra greater than 90o
- L will be circumpolar.
During the summer the sun is circumpolar
above the arctic circle