The traits in us that belong to a lower order and rise more out of our body are called the wild animals of the earth; they are cravings and appetites.
Many examples from the Word can clarify the fact that beasts or animals symbolize the feelings we have—negative feelings if we are evil, positive feelings if we are good. Take these verses in Ezekiel:
Here, now, I am yours, [mountains of Israel,] and I will turn to face you so that you may be tilled and sown; and I will multiply human and animal upon you, and they will multiply and reproduce; and I will cause you to live as in your ancient times. (Ezekiel 36:9, 10, 11)
This speaks of regeneration. In Joel:
Do not be afraid, animals of my field; because the living-places of the desert have become grassy. (Joel 2:22)
I was dull-witted; I was like the animals, in God’s sight. (Psalms 73:22)
Look! The days are coming when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of human and the seed of animal; and I will watch over them to build and to plant. (Jeremiah 31:27, 28)
This speaks of regeneration. Wild animals have the same symbolism. In Hosea, for example:
I will strike a pact with them on that day—with the wild animal of the field, and with the bird in the heavens and the creeping animal of the earth. (Hosea 2:18)
Of the wild animal of the earth you are not to be afraid, as you will have a compact with the stones of the field, and the wild animal of the field will be peaceful toward you. (Job 5:22, 23)
I will strike a pact of peace with you and bring an end on the earth to the evil wild animal, so that people may live securely in the wilderness. (Ezekiel 34:25)
The wild animal of the field will honor me because I have put water in the desert. (Isaiah 43:20)
In its branches nested every bird of the heavens, and under its branches bred every wild animal of the field, and in its shade lived all the great nations. (Ezekiel 31:6)
This describes Assyrians, who symbolize a person with a spiritual focus and who are being compared to the Garden of Eden. In David:
Give glory to Jehovah, all you angels of his; give glory from the earth, you sea creatures, fruit tree, wild animal, and every beast, creeping animal, and bird on the wing. (Psalms 148:2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10)
This lists exactly the same things [as the present chapter]: sea creatures, fruit tree, wild animal, beast, creeping animal, and bird. Unless they symbolized living things in us, they could never be said to give glory to Jehovah.
The prophets draw a careful distinction between the animals of the earth and the animals of the field.
It is good things that have been called animals up to this point, just as the people closest to the Lord in heaven are termed living creatures both in Ezekiel [1; 10] and in John:
All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell down before the throne on their faces and worshiped the Lamb. (Revelation 7:11; 19:4)
People to whom the gospel is to be preached are also called created beings, since they are to be created anew:
Go throughout the world and preach the gospel to every created being. (Mark 16:15)
More evidence that these words enfold the mysteries of regeneration can be seen in differences between the present verse and the last. The last says that the earth produced the living soul, the beast, and the wild animal of the earth. The present one employs a different order, saying that God made the wild animal of the earth and then the beast. At first we produce results as if on our own, as we do later, too, before developing a heavenly nature. Regeneration, then, starts with the outer self and moves to the inner, which is why a change in the order occurs, and outermost things come first.
All this verifies the premise: In the fifth stage we speak with conviction (an attribute of the understanding) and in the process strengthen ourselves in truth and goodness. The things we then produce have life in them and are called the fish of the sea and the birds in the heavens. And in the sixth stage we act with conviction (an attribute of the understanding) and therefore with love (an attribute of the will) in speaking truth and doing good. What we then produce is called a living soul, an animal. Because this is the point at which we begin to act as much with love as with conviction, we become spiritual people, who are called [God’s] image—the very next subject.
from Regeneration, Pages 148-151