The Zohar (also called the Original Zohar in order to not confuse it with the Zohar Emulators) is a source of power believed to be unrivaled in the Xenosaga universe. It serves as a portal between the Higher Domain of U-DO and the Lower Domain of the human collective consciousness (Unus Mundus). Originally it was used by ancient people to power the Relics of God. It was later discovered on the floor of Lake Turkana in Kenya in 20XX, an event which directly led to Earth being abandoned. However, the Ormus Society claims that they have been the people bound to the Zohar for eternity. Ormus is not the only known faction after the powers of the Zohar.
Visually distinguished by an aquamarine jewel, the Original Zohar is not to be mistaken for a Zohar Emulator, which are not as powerful. Zohar Emulators have red Hebrew letters instead of a jewel. The Hyams Zohar Emulator appears to have a blue letter. Anyone who comes into physical contact (direct or in the beginning of Episode I, through a space suit) with the Zohar or its emulators vanishes from physical space. Unmanned vehicles or auto-techs, however, are unaffected. The Episode I guide claims this is due to 'the power of one's will'.
The Original Zohar is called "Marienkind," which means "Child of Mary" in German. According to the Original Design Materials, this name represents Jesus Christ. However, the U.M.N. database in Episode I gives yet another reference, saying that this also refers to a fairytale by the Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) about a girl who receives the keys to the 13 doors of heaven from Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The Original Zohar also serves as the logo for Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht.
The name Zohar (the Hebrew word for "splendor" or "radiance") is a reference to an important book in Jewish mysticism. The Zohar also is similar in appearance and usage to the Monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Zohar was also based on the Zohar from Xenosaga's spiritual predecessor Xenogears. In Xenogears, the Zohar appears as a simple golden monolith with a turquoise eye rather than Xenosaga's ornately designed monolith and jewel. The Xenogears monolith also lacked the "arms" of the Xenosaga monolith which give it the appearance of a cross.
In Xenogears the Zohar serves as prison for the Wave Existence, and is an essential part of the Eldridge and Deus Core. The Zohar is the device used by Deus as a source of energy. Eventually Lacan makes contact with the Zohar, thus becoming himself in the 2nd Contact (Abel was the 1st Contact). Fei Fong Wong is the 3rd Contact.